The Broad Leaf Cattail is one of the most common wetland plants found in marshes and along side ponds in the United States and native to all American states except Hawaii.
It is also known as Typha Latifolia and Bulrushes, growing 3-10 feet tall.
The other common species is narrow leaf cattail, typha angustifolia. Also known as the lesser bulrush.
How to Eat:
-The lower parts of the leaves are best in salads.
-Young stems can be eaten raw or boiled.
-Young flowering heads are good to eat when roasted.
-Yellow pollen (yellow pic above is in bloom with pollen) can be harvested in mid-summer (generally mid June) however the window for harvesting can be less than a week. You have to catch the male flower (usually smaller and pointy looking, above the female flower, corn dog looking one) before it releases all of its pollen and leaves the female standing alone. How typical! The pollen can be shaken into a bag and sifted. Let it rest for a bit so any hidden creatures get the hint to move out. Then add to pancakes or supplement as flour for any other baked goods. It may also be used as a thickener for soup or stew which adds nutrients, a bright golden hue and mild taste.
-The root should be prepared dried and pounded into flour.
-The head makes good fire starter or soaked in fat/oil to burn as a torch. But just to be clear torches are NOT edible.
-The head “fluff” can be used as insulation.
Photo courtesy of: Hunger and Thirst Blog