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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Broadleaf Cattail - Typha latifolia

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 3

External Links

General Description
Stems 1–2 m. Leaves glaucous, 6–18 mm wide. Inflorescence: male spike 7–15 × 1–2 cm; contiguous or separated from the female spike 7–15 × 1–3 cm. Flowers: stigma lanceolate black at the tip; pollen grains shed in tetrads (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Typha latifolia, broad-leaved cattail, is distinguished from T. angustifolia;, narrow-leaved cattail, by the relative width of the leaf and the position of the staminate and pistillate portions of the spadix (heads). Typha latifolia has 6-23 mm wide leaves that are flat, sheathing, and pale grayish-green in color. Typha angustifolia has 3-8 mm wide leaves that are full green and somewhat convex on back (Agricultural Rea. Service 1971). In T. latifolia the staminate and pistillate heads are contiguous or nearly so, whereas in T. angustifolia the heads are separated by approximately 3 cm.

Cattail fruits differ among the two major species. Typha angustifolia fruits are about 5-8 mm long with hairs arising above the middle. Typha latifolia fruits are about 1 cm long with hairs arising near the base (Agricultural Rea. Service 1971).

Species Range

Range Comments
Circumboreal south to all of temperate North America (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 238

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Shallow to moderately deep water of marshes, ponds, lakes, ditches; plains, valleys, montane (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Broadleaf Cattail"
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Citation for data on this website:
Broadleaf Cattail — Typha latifolia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from