It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

SOLVED: Can anyone explain this to me?

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

I have a 5 gallon bucket full of Narrow-leaved cattails, Typha angustifolia that's in my little goldfish pond.

(Please... don't worry, I know it's an invasive species. I cut them before they release their seed so they can't get away from me)

Anyway, they have produced normal looking cattails for 5 or 6 years now. But this year, for some strange reason, 7 of my 13 cattails have split, right where the seed head is. In other words, there is a single stem that is intact, above and below the seed head itself. The resulting seed heads are complete, all the way around, it's not like they are two halves split apart, there are two complete cattails on one stem. One of them even split into three. I've never seen anything like that before, in my life!

I thought maybe they were facsiated but closer inspection (pic # 2) shows where a small section of the stem did split away, plus the stems are round. Pic 3 ans 4 shows the one that split into three. Pic 5 is all of them in a vase in my bathroom. Does anyone know if there's a way to keep them from fluffing out? I'd like to preserve them as is, if it's possible.

Does anybody have any ideas as to how this happened or what caused it? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, cause this just baffles my mind and the curiosity is killing me!. lol

Thumbnail by ilv2grdn Thumbnail by ilv2grdn Thumbnail by ilv2grdn Thumbnail by ilv2grdn Thumbnail by ilv2grdn
Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

don't know why but middle pic looks like a hotdog in a bun lol

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Hair spray will keep them from fluffing out. I kept some of the larger type dark brown ones for years that way.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

i wonder if this phenomenon is related to their being kept in a bucket so they could not reproduce by rhizomes. Maybe it's their attempt to "get out of that bucket".ie, double the seed heads.

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

DonnaB, lol Yeah, I know they're the strangest looking cattails I've ever seen.

steadycam3 Thanks for the tip. Well, my mom had some in a bucket for longer than I've had and it never happened to hers. But she did however, have to take them out each spring and remove half of them to relieve the pressure, so to speak. They multiplied so much, to the point of breaking the bucket.

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

Whatever is going on with your plant, I think the arrangement is very cool. They remind me of hotdog buns on a stick. I'd divide this plant and have a few of them and see if they do it next year. If they do, you might want to approach the floriculture industry and get a patent.

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

That would be cool!

Vernonburg, GA

I think a clear acrylic spray sealer would be more permanent to preserve them.
You have something beautiful going on with that plant.

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

As with fasciation, plant hormones must be involved. Typha, a moncot, is wind pollinated. I would postulate that something in the air disrupted their reproduction. Did any male flowers appear above the female ones?

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

2gardenkate, yes, every one had male flowers, and they all looked normal at that time. Then I didn't look closely at them for some time. Well, till almost 2 weeks ago, when I noticed the split. So it had to have happened during the development of the seed head. You brought up a an interesting point though...I'm leaning towards it not being genetic. And not all fasciation is caused by hormones. The thing that made my lean away from fasciation is #1, the stem is not deformed in any way and #2, there is an unmistakeable split in the stem above and below where the seeds were forming. On picture #2, it shows the part of the stem on the left ,barely had enough of a cambium layer to bring nutrients to the developing seeds. But the split is not as clearly visible on all of them. This is a true mystery! I love all your comments and ideas.

growin, I will do that. I'll also take some seed from the split ones and see if it happens to them also.
I will post my results.

This is a true mystery and I love all your comments and ideas.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

More analyzing guessing- insects could damage the stem and cause weird growth, but would they get every stem/ the same spot?
Or a fungus, more likely to hit every stem but I don't know if that's really likely either.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.