Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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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.
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 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
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 latifolia

botanical illustration including Typha latifolia


Citation for this treatment: S. Galen Smith 2012, Typha latifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 02, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 02, 2023.

Typha latifolia
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© 2011 Neal Kramer
Typha latifolia
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© 2013 Steve Matson
Typha latifolia
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© 2013 Steve Matson
Typha latifolia
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Typha latifolia
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© 2010 California Academy of Sciences
Typha latifolia
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© 2019 Neal Kramer

More photos of Typha latifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Typha latifolia:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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).


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).