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Typha latifolia

Higher Taxonomy
Family: TyphaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, glabrous; monoecious; rhizomes or stolons long; colonial, in wet soil to aquatic. Stem: aerial stem 1, +- cylindric. Leaf: basal and cauline, alternate, 2-ranked, spongy; sheath open; ligule 0; blade +- linear. Inflorescence: spike-like or of spheric, unisexual heads; staminate flowers or heads distal to pistillate ones. Flower: small, densely-packed. Staminate Flower: filaments fused proximally. Pistillate Flower: pistil 1, ovary superior, ovules 1--2(4). Fruit: follicle, splitting in water, or drupe-like.
Genera In Family: 2 genera, +- 32 species: worldwide.
eFlora Treatment Author: S. Galen Smith
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: TyphaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: CATTAIL
Stem: erect, simple, cylindric, firm, air cavities 0. Leaf: ascending; blade C-shaped or planoconvex in ×-section proximally, flat distally, internal air cavities large; sheath-tip lobes present or not. Inflorescence: terminal; flowers 1000+; staminate flowers distal, mixed with many papery scales; pistillate flowers proximal, clustered on peg-like compound pedicels; bractlets many, thread-like with enlarged tips generally visible at spike surface, or 0. Staminate Flower: stamens 2--7 on slender stalk; filaments slender, generally deciduous in fruit. Pistillate Flower: stalk long-hairy, persistent; ovary chambers 1, style 1, persistent, stigma 1; many modified pistils with enlarged sterile ovary, style deciduous. Fruit: fusiform, thin-walled, yellow-brown, wind-dispersed.
Species In Genus: +- 15 species: boreal to tropics worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: to smoke or emit smoke) Note: Dissecting microscope ideal for Typha identification (flower structures small), which is complicated by hybridization.
Unabridged Note: Typha angustifolia × Typha latifolia (Typha × glauca Godr., pro sp.) and Typha domingensis × Typha latifolia (Typha × provincialis A. Camus) are generally highly sterile and intermediate between parents in most characters. Typha angustifolia × Typha domingensis are generally highly fertile, thus species boundaries are locally obscure. Hybrids involving 3 species are locally common. Although putative hybrids may produce no or few seeds they generally form long-persistent clones.

Typha latifolia L.
Habit: Plant 15--30 dm. Stem: 3--7 mm diam near inflorescence. Leaf: sheath tip lobes ear-like, papery, or 0; widest fresh blades 10--29 mm wide, dry 5--20 mm wide, glands 0. Inflorescence: naked stem between staminate, pistillate flowers generally 0(8) cm; staminate scales hair- to strap-like, colorless; pistillate spikes medium- to black- or red-brown, generally white-mottled in age; compound pedicels elongate, bristle-like in fruit, 1.5--3.5 mm; pistillate bractlets 0. Flower: pollen grains in 4s; stigma ovate to lance-ovate, green in flower, medium- to red- or black-brown in age; sterile ovary straw-colored, not visible at spike surface, < pistil hair tips. Chromosomes: 2n=30.
Ecology: Unpolluted to nutrient-rich freshwater (brackish) marshes; Elevation: < 2300 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA; Distribution Outside California: boreal North America to northern South America, Eurasia, northern Africa, Tasmania (introduced). Flowering Time: Jun--Jul
eFlora Treatment Author: S. Galen Smith
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Previous taxon: Typha domingensis
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botanical illustration including Typha latifolia


Citation for this treatment: S. Galen Smith 2016. Typha latifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Typha latifolia
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© 2003 George W. Hartwell
Typha latifolia
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© 2009 Barry Rice
Typha latifolia
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© 2003 George W. Hartwell
Typha latifolia
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© 2009 Thomas Stoughton
Typha latifolia
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© 2004 Steve Matson
Typha latifolia
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© 2009 Barry Rice

More photos of Typha latifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Typha latifolia:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.