Hoary Mountain Mint

Scientific Name: Typha Latifolia

Family: Typhaceae

Other names: Bulrush, Cooper’s Reed

Cautions: Do not confuse with Yellow Flag

Herbarium Image: Here

Description

Tall, native, perennial grass growing predominately in wetlands, ditches, and swamps. The stalk has leaves alternately arranged, clasping at the base. The leaves are long, lanceolate, upright and flat. The flowers are found on a long spike. The cattail roots have rhizomes. The flowers develop into fluffy seeds.

Traditional Medicinal Use

The Waccamaw Siouan used the juice from the stem as an analgesic, similar to aloe. The leaves are gathered in July for drying and making baskets and mats. The tops of the flowers are edible and the Waccamaw would eat them or use the fluff to make flour. The fluff could also be used as a bandage in wound healing.

Health

In Lumbee herbal medicine, the juice between the leaves is used as a skin antiseptic. Other tribes have used the roots as a poultice as a wound dressing. The basal leaves and roots have been used by some tribes to treat abdominal cramps.  The tops of the cattails are used in part of a Woman-hood ceremony for the Mescalero Apache

Nutrition

The Lumbee peel and eat the shoots raw, and dry and ground the roots as a flour for baking bread. The Saanich people also made mats out the female plant. According to several internet sources, cattails is one of most significant survival food and medicine plants because all parts of the plant can be used for various purposes from starting/maintaining fire, shelter, food, as well as for medicine.

Citations

1. Garrett

2. Vogel

3. Hamel

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