narrow-leaved cattail

(Typha angustifolia)

Conservation Status
narrow-leaved cattail
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Weed Status

Though narrow-leaved cattail is a native to Minnesota, some people consider it an invasive species. They argue that where it is introduced it soon crowds out other native species, often creating a monoculture. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture does not consider this an invasive species.

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland


OBL - Obligate wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland


Narrow-leaved cattail is a 3 to 9 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem or cluster of stems from a thick, mostly horizontal, unbranched rhizome. It grows in muddy soil, often with its roots underwater.

The stems are erect, stiff, unbranched, light green, hairless, and round in cross section. They are 3 16 to ½ thick in the middle, 1 16 to thick near the inflorescence.

The leaves are mostly basal, alternate, green, and linear. They are slightly concave on the upper side, convex on the underside. They are to ½ wide, usually rising well above the flowering spike. They sheath the stem at the base and taper to a sharp point at the tip. They have parallel veins but do not have a prominent midrib. When fresh they are not glaucous.

The inflorescence is a dense spike of minute staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers at the end of the stem.

The staminate-flowered portion of the spike is above and separated by a ½ to 4¾ long length of naked stem from the pistillate-flowered portion. When in flower it is thick and about as long as the pistillate portion. The male flowers are straw-colored to medium brown.

The pistillate-flowered portion of the spike is 2 to 8 long and 3 16 to ¼ thick when in flower. When in fruit it is brown and ½ to thick. The female flowers are dark brown at first, drying medium brown.

The fruit is a thin-walled achene with hairs attached.




3 to 9


Flower Color




Similar Species


Broad-leaved cattail (Typha latifolia) has broader, green to grayish-blue leaves that are up to 1 wide, flat, and extend only slightly above the flowering spike. The staminate spike of the flowering stalk is contiguous with, not separated from, the pistillate spike. When in fruit, the pistillate spike is 1 to 1¼ thick.

Hybrid cattail (Typha × glauca) occurs in places where both broad-leaved cattail and narrow-leaved cattail are present. It is a hybrid with characteristics that are intermediate between the two parent species.


Moist to wet. Marshes, ditches. Full sun.




June to July


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Poales (grasses, sedges, cattails, and allies)  


Typhaceae (bulrushes, cattails, and allies)  
  Tribe Typheae  


Typha (cattails)  



Typha angustifolia var. calumetensis

Typha angustifolia var. elongata


Common Names



cat o’nine tails


Cossack asparagus

lesser reed-mace


narrow-leaf cat-tail

narrowleaf cattail

narrow-leaved cattail

reed mace


small reed-mace


















A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem

Visitor Photos

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    narrow-leaved cattail   narrow-leaved cattail  


    narrow-leaved cattail   narrow-leaved cattail  
    narrow-leaved cattail   narrow-leaved cattail  

Male Spike

    narrow-leaved cattail      

Female Spike

    narrow-leaved cattail      






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Other Videos
  Lesser Bulrush (Typha Angustifolia L.) - 2012-06-23

Published on Jun 25, 2012

Typha angustifolia L., ( also Lesser Bulrush or Narrowleaf Cattail or Lesser Reedmace), is a perennial herbaceous plant of genus Typha.

De kleine lisdodde (Typha angustifolia) is een plant uit de lisdoddefamilie (Typhaceae).

  Narrow Leaf Cattail in Minnesota
Go Nutrient Negative!

Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011

Narrow Leaf Cattail in Minnesota requires a respond from the Minnesota DNR

  House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee 2/26/13

Published on Feb 26, 2013

00:18 - Gavel.

00:40 - HF461 (Benson) Mechanical control of hybrid and narrow-leaved cattail rulemaking allowed without an aquatic plant management permit.

35:45 - HF657 (Hackbarth) Spearing restrictions removed from lakes.

1:03:25 - HF896 (Persell) Requiring the installation of electric fish barriers.

Runs 1 hour, 49 minutes.

  Cattail and Bulrush part 2

Published on Jun 28, 2012

A comparison between narrowleaf cattail and common cattail as well as a comparison between hardsterm bulrush and great bulrush.




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Anna Gronseth Prairie

Antelope Valley SNA

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

Banning State Park

Belgium Prairie

Big Woods Heritage Forest WMA

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Boot Lake SNA

Bur Oak WMA

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Chippewa Prairie

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Clinton Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Dodge Nature Center

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Felton Prairie SNA, Shrike Unit

Felton WMA

Foxhome Prairie

Glacial Lakes Preserve

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Greenleaf Lake SRA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Iron Springs Bog SNA

Jay Cooke State Park

Jensen Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Kettledrummer Prairie

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Bronson State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Maria State Park

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve

Langhei Prairie SNA

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lester Lake SNA

Lundblad Prairie SNA

Malmberg Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Miller Prairie, West Unit

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Black Dog Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Long Meadow Lake Unit

Moose Lake State Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Spieker Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

Pankratz Memorial Prairie, North Unit

Partch Woods SNA

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Pembina Trail Unit

Phelps Lake WMA

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Racine Prairie SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake State Park

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

Ritter Farm Park

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Roscoe Prairie SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Schaefer Prairie

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Schoolcraft State Park

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Prairie Preserve

Springbrook Nature Center

Staffanson Prairie

Strandness Prairie

Swedes Forest SNA

Thompson County Park

Thorson Prairie WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Two Rivers Aspen Prairie Parkland SNA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Uncas Dunes SNA

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion River WMA

Wahpeton Prairie WMA

Western Prairie SNA

Westwood Hills Nature Center

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Wild Indigo SNA

William O’Brien State Park

Wolsfeld Woods SNA

Yellow Bank Hills SNA

Zimmerman Prairie





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