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Vascular Plants of California
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Typha angustifolia

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.
Reference: Smith 2000 FNANM 22:278--285
Typha angustifolia L.
Habit: Plant 15--30 dm. Stem: 2--3 mm diam at inflorescence. Leaf: sheath-tip lobes ear-like, membranous, disintegrating with age; widest fresh blades 4--15 mm wide, dry 3--8 mm wide, glands 0. Inflorescence: naked stem between staminate, pistillate flowers 1--12 cm; staminate scales hair- to strap-like, brown; pistillate spike dark brown; compound pedicels short, +- blunt, peg-like in fruit, +- 0.5 mm; pistillate bractlets blunt, length = pistillate flower hairs, width >= stigma width, dark brown, generally darker than stigma. Flower: pollen grains single; stigma linear, +- white in flower, light brown in age; sterile ovary green, drying brown, visible at spike surface, reaching pistil hair tips; pistil hair tips swollen, uniformly brown. Chromosomes: 2n=30.
Ecology: Nutrient-rich freshwater to brackish marshes, wet disturbed places; Elevation: < 2000 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, SN, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SCo; Distribution Outside California: to southern British Columbia, central and eastern temperate North America, Eurasia. Flowering Time: May--Aug Note: Possibly naturalized in California.
Unabridged Note: If recognized taxonomically, hybrids with Typha latifolia assignable to Typha × glauca Godr. There is strong evidence that Typha angustifolia was introduced from Europe to the Atlantic Coast in colonial times; it has been known from California since at least 1909; it and Typha × glauca are serious invasive weeds in eastern North America.
Jepson eFlora Author: S. Galen Smith
Reference: Smith 2000 FNANM 22:278--285
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Typha angustifolia

botanical illustration including Typha angustifolia


Citation for this treatment: S. Galen Smith 2012, Typha angustifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=47462, accessed on April 09, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 09, 2020.

Typha angustifolia
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Typha angustifolia
click for enlargement
© 2007 Neal Kramer
Typha angustifolia
click for enlargement
© 2018 Neal Kramer
Typha angustifolia
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Typha angustifolia
click for enlargement
© 2007 Neal Kramer
Typha angustifolia
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Typha angustifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Typha angustifolia:
NW, SN, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SCo
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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.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).