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Typha latifolia,
Broadleaf cattail, Common Cattail, Giant reed-mace

Scientific name:  Typha latifolia L.
Common name:  Common Cattail, Broadleaf cattail, Giant reed-mace
Family:  Typhaceae, Cattail family

Typha latifolia, Common Cattail, Giant reed-mace

Life form:  Helophyte
Stems:  Up to 5 feet (2.5 m) in height; erect, stout, unbranched and reed-like
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, sheath-like leaf, entire, smooth
Flowers:  Terminal, cylindrical, inflorescence in busby-like flowering head = Spadix; female pale green flowers, which produce seeds, are situated towards the bottom of the spadix, the male flowers are located towards the top; male and female regions of the spadix are touching; female flowers tiny, 2-3mm long when in flower, 10-15mm long when in fruit; male flowers, brown, minute, >1.3cm long, thickly clustered, anthers 1-3mm long.
Fruits / pods:  Fruit a tiny, tufted nutlet, blackish brown or reddish brown; seed, minute, numerous.
Flowering Period:  Summer
Habitat:   Humid habitats

Typha latifolia, Common Cattail, Giant reed-mace


Derivation of the botanical name:
Typha, typhos (Greek), "marshes", a name that has been written for these plants since Theophrastus (372-287 BCE) called them tiphe (τὐφη) and Dioscorides (40-80 CE) wrote tiphes (τυφης). ”Typha is linguistically related to Typhon, typhoon, and typhus. These words link four concepts - monsters, storms, diseases, and plants.
Typhon, as the father of the Winds, causes dangerous storms. This deity’s name is cognate with “typhoon,” borrowed from the Arabic, Persian, and Urdu وافن tufân (to turn around), and still in use to describe violent cyclonic storms of the Indian Ocean.
latifolia, latus,"broad", and folius, "leaf"; hence, "broad leaf"
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.


 
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