Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Southern Cattail, Narrow-leaf Cumbungi
Typha domingensis

Family: Typhaceae
Genus: Typha (TY-fuh) (Info)
Species: domingensis (doh-ming-EN-sis) (Info)

Synonym:Typha angustata

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Typha domingensis by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
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By kennedyh
Thumbnail #3 of Typha domingensis by kennedyh

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Typha domingensis by Xenomorf

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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Typha domingensis by Xenomorf

There are a total of 13 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive thecrewsc On Feb 1, 2009, thecrewsc from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

"An acre of cattails produces ten times as much food as an acre of potatoes" from a book of wild recipes.
Cattail pollen flour and cattail rhizomes are a terrific addition to the eclectic kitchen.

A home container garden ensures a good water source and prevents the cattail taking over nearby ditches and waterways.

Negative Unright On Sep 21, 2008, Unright from Bradenton, FL wrote:

This plant is a pain to eradicate and handle. If you want this plant to grow in your wetland, get ready to say goodbye to most of your other species as it will crowd them out and block out the sun.

Seeing these in detention ponds and ditches is not a sign that those are healthy biospheres. Cattails are weeds.

Positive suncatcheracres On Feb 3, 2004, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

When my son bought his present home in an Atlanta suburb a few years ago, there was a "detention pond" at the rear of the steep one acre property built by the developer to meet Federal, State and County regulations concerning silt run-off into the nearby Chattahoochee River. This "pond" was a 70 foot long bulldozed "gouge" out of the hill side, with a rock dam and various concrete water diversions and culverts, that was fortunately mostly hidden from the street and the house by trees, but it certainly wasn't an attractive part of the yard. This detention pond served as a temporaty holding area for rain water runoff, gradually letting out the accumulated surface drainage, thus preventing erosion downstream, so the pond was sometimes flooded and always damp, but not very attractive.

Within a year the whole bottom of the pond was entirely covered with Southern Cattails, which appeared the first Spring entirely on their own, and eventually obscured the dam and the various concrete "water" diversions, making the area much more attractive, and Northern Cardinals and various other ground birds loved the area for nesting. Fortunately the pond was never boggy enough to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Over time maples, sycamores and tulip poplar trees, and black berries, passion flower and white scented honeysuckle started growing around the pond, and within three years the area was constantly abuzz with butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, lizards, garden snakes and songbirds.

When dealing with these plants always wear gloves, as the leaf edges can be quite sharp.

Neutral Monocromatico On Feb 3, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant lives in a wide range of climates all through Americas, from the hot restingas of Brazil to the temperate swamps of Argentina and North America. It also tolerates a fair concentration of salt in water, specially on the closed lagoons from the brazilian litoral, but prosperating as well as on regular inland swamps.

Its a tall, rhyzomatous herb, with long, erect, leathery leaves, reaching over than 2 meters tall. The floral spike is of the same size, bearing really small red and hairy flowers (the hairs are modifications of floral parts, such as petals). It looks like a sausage on a stick. The seeds fly away thanks to those said hairs.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clarkdale, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Sarasota, Florida
Benton, Kentucky
Summerville, South Carolina

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