Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Typha angustifolia


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Snyder, S. A. 1993. Typha angustifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. ABBREVIATION : TYPANG SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : TYAN COMMON NAMES : narrowleaf cattail narrow-leaved cattail narrow-leaf cattail narrowleaved cattail TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for narrowleaf cattail is Typha angustifolia L. in the family Typhaceae [12]. Typha angustifolia hybridizes with T. latifolia to form T. glauca Godron. [14]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Narrowleaf cattail occurs from Nova Scotia south through parts of New England along the coast to southern Florida.  It occurs in the Midwest south to southeastern Texas.  Scattered populations are found throughout Nebraska and Wyoming, parts of the Intermountain West, and along the Pacific Northwest coast into central California [10]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES37  Mountain meadows    FRES39  Prairie    FRES41  Wet grasslands    FRES42  Annual grasslands STATES :      AL  AR  CA  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  IA      KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT      NE  NH  NJ  NY  NC  OH  OR  PA  RI  SC      TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WV  WI  WY  MB  NB      NS  ON  PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     3  Southern Pacific Border     5  Columbia Plateau     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    10  Wyoming Basin    14  Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K049  Tule marshes    K072  Sea oats prairie    K073  Northern cordgrass prairie    K074  Bluestem prairie    K092  Everglades SAF COVER TYPES :     63  Cottonwood    235  Cottonwood - willow SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Narrowleaf cattail is listed as a riparian dominance type in the following publication: Riparian dominance types of Montana [31] Some associates of narrowleaf cattail include sedges (Carex spp.), bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), rushes (Juncus spp.), sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum ssp.), lichens (Cladonia spp.), kalmia (Kalmia spp.), foxtail barley (Critestion jubatum), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinaceae), oakleaf goosefoot (Chenopodium glaucum), curled dock (Rumex crispus), panicgrass (Panicum spp.), cottonsedge (Eriophorum spissum), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), spiraea (Spiraea spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), viburnum (Viburnum spp.), chufa flatsedge (Cyperus esculentus), and dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa) [8,28].


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Narrowleaf cattail is eaten by waterfowl and muskrats [24,27]. Muskrats also construct their lodges with cattail, and blackbirds use cattail for perches [31].  Extensive monotypic stands of cattail are usually poor habitat for wildlife [1]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Food values for leaf litter of the narrowleaf cattail hybrid, T. glauca, have been listed [22]: type           time         %nitrogen    %phosphorus       %ash green        early July       2.77         0.29            6.55 senesced     early Feb.       0.63         0.05            3.89 COVER VALUE : Narrowleaf cattail provides important cover for muskrats and a variety of waterfowl [4,6,27].  White-tailed deer use cattail for cover [31]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Narrowleaf cattail is used in prairie wetland restoration [17].  It is used to create wetlands for mitigating the effects of wastewater treatment plants and landfills [9].  A shoreline restoration project to provide cover for largemouth bass and other fish determined that rhizome transplants have better survivorship than transplanted greenhouse stock [7]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Rhizomes are eaten whole or ground into flour.  Shoots, seeds, flowers, pollen, and stems are also eaten.  Stems and leaves are woven into baskets and rope or used in roofing, bedding, and paper manufacturing [10,15].  Many other uses for narrowleaf cattail have been documented [21]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Although narrowleaf cattail is useful in wetland restoration projects, without control it will form dense stands that eventually outcompete other valuable wildlife food and cover species [4].  It can be controlled with herbicides and through marsh drawdowns or by flooding over freshly cut stubble to reduce oxygen to the rhizomes [15]. A study of the effects of cutting cattail, then flooding the area, showed that stem densities were reduced by 89 percent the first year. When cut a second time, densities were reduced by 99 percent.  No fruiting heads or seed germination occurred following cutting and flooding [1]. Draining a New Brunswick marsh caused a 36 percent increase in narrowleaf cattail cover and a 50 percent increase in stem density. However, plant height and basal diameter were reduced by 16.54 percent and 7.14, respectively [30].


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Narrowleaf cattail is an erect, rhizomatous perennial that grows 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m) tall [15].  Its lateral rhizomes, produced at the leaf base, can grow up to 27.6 inches (70 cm) long and 0.8 to 1.6 inches (2-4 cm) in diameter [15].  Its leaves are 2 to 5 feet (0.6-1.5 m) long, very narrow, and flattened [10,12].  Flowers grow on erect stalks, and the fruits are cigar-shaped and 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) long.  Fruits contain soft, downy seeds [10]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Helophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Cattails reproduce by seed and rhizomes.  Their primary means of colonizing is by seed, and once established, colonies are maintained by vegetative reproduction [16].  Seeds are wind pollinated and require moisture, but not oxygen for germination [15].  Laboratory studies have shown that seeds germinate best in water 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep, but can germinate in water as deep as 16 inches (40 cm) [4].  In the field seed germination usually occurs following exposure of mudflats. Narrowleaf cattail was found in wetland seedbanks that had been drained for more than 70 years [32]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Narrowleaf cattail grows in marshes, wet meadows, fens, estuaries, bogs, ditches, and along lake shores.  It is tolerant of saline environments [15,31].  Where T. angustifolia and T. latifolia occur together, T. angustifolia usually colonizes the deeper waters (31.5 in. [80 cm] or more) [16]. In Utah, narrowleaf cattail occurs in peaty soils of salt marshes and colonizes deep sloughs and sloping marsh perimeters [5]. In Wisconsin, water levels seem to be the most important factor affecting cattail occurrence and establishment [4].  Typha spp. grow best under stable moisture conditions, saturated soil, and water up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) deep.  Narrowleaf cattail can grow in water as deep as 2.5 feet (76 cm) [4].  After establishment, it can tolerate fluctuating water levels including periods of drought and deep flooding.  In Wisconsin cattail species usually grow in soils that are fertile and nutrient rich [4].  Narrowleaf cattail height growth is best in hot temperatures but does not seem to be adversely affected by extreme cold [4]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Narrowleaf cattail is considered an early to mid-seral species and a dominant in disturbed wetlands [15].  In the absence of disturbance, narrowleaf cattail dominates marshes in dense, monotypic stands [18]. Under these conditions productivity is lowered because of litter buildup, and narrowleaf cattail outcompetes other species. Narrowleaf cattail replaces cordgrass (Spartina spp.) in marshes where coastal wetlands are diked or tidally restricted [2,23]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Leaves emerge in the spring, flowering is initiated in early to mid-summer, and the greatest clonal growth occurs in the fall [15]. Under good conditions, seeds germinate from May to September [4]. Aerial shoot growth continues into November or until the first freeze when plants go dormant [20].  Development times in a Wisconsin marsh were:  April:  aerial shoot sprout, new rhizome formation, leaves; May: new shoots; June:  spikes formed; July:  basal shoots and flower head development; August through September:  maturation of flower head [4].


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Cattail rhizomes sprout following fire [4]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Burning top-kills narrowleaf cattail and reduces stem density [1].  Fires that burn into the peat layer can kill cattail [4]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : The effects of fire on the narrowleaf cattail hybrid T. glauca were determined for a New Brunswick marsh.  The marsh was divided into two sections, each containing four blocks of four plots.  In each section one block was burned in early and mid-June, one was burned in early and mid-July, and one was burned in mid-August and mid-September. Vegetation was measured the third postfire year.  Following each fire, plots were either drained or flooded.  On the drained sites T. glauca cover, density, and height were least on the plots burned in July. Other burned plots did not differ significantly from the control.  On the flooded sites July-burned plots had greater T. glauca cover than control plots.  Other burned plots did not differ significantly from the control [30].  PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Narrowleaf cattail will sprout following fire if rhizomes are not consumed [1,4].  DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Fire can be used to reduce aboveground debris, opening up stands for nesting waterfowl.  Burning in winter when rhizomes are buried in ice or in frozen soil usually will not kill cattail.  If the objective is to create more open stands for wildlife, burning should be conducted in spring following a relatively dry winter, when the marsh is dry [4]. Fire has been used to provide openings in cattail (Typha spp.) marshes for mallard foraging. In the St Clair Wildlife Refuge, Ontario, mallards used openings that were created by winter burning followed by spring flooding.  Mallard foraging effort was positively correlated with invertebrate biomass and opening size (P<0.001).  Burning produced less cattail mortality than winter mowing followed by spring flooding [1].  For detailed information, refer to the Research Project Summary Winter fire in a marshland in St Clair National Wildlife Area, Ontario. Cattail marshes are difficult to burn 2 years in a row because accumulated debris is needed for fuel.  The thick bases of cattail species are often the last part of the plant to dry out and are difficult to burn. Canada geese, herons, egrets, and other waterfowl use burned marsh areas for feeding and nesting [4]. Draining and burning marshes during July inhibits rapid growth of cattail species.  Several fires during summer will release nutrients if a portion of the organic mat is removed [30].  Draining and burning before a thick mat layer forms is necessary for slowing palludification. Fires on nutrient-poor fens can reduce species diversity and create oligotrophic bogs, but on nutrient-rich sites fires will not typically reduce species diversity [30].


SPECIES: Typha angustifolia
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