Kingdom Plantae
Sub Kingdom Tracheobionta (vascular plant)
Superdivision Spermatophyta (seed plant)
Division Magnoliophyta (flowering plant)
Class Liliopsida (monocotyledon)
Order Typhales
Family Typhaceae
Genus Typha
Species latifolia
Classification L.
Common Name cattail

Geographic Range North America, Central America, Great Britain, Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan.
Physical Characteristics it is a perennial herb, from a creeping rhizome; the erect stem may be 3 meters high; long, erect leaves have parallel veins and they are provided with a sheath which wraps the stem; rigid, unbranched stems. The inflorescence is made up of two overlapped spikes: the female, lower, cylindrical and made up of two small brown flowers; the male which is the smallest. The rhizomes are stout and they are found at 8-10 centimeters depth under the ground surface, they may grow up to 70 meters in length.
Notes it is found in tropical areas and in the cold mild ones; it tolerates annual temperatures that range form 6 to 28 C°. They can bear only short emerging periods. It spreads by vegetative propagation by rhizomes, and sexually by a large quantity of seeds produced in the spikes. When the fruit comes in touch with water, the pericarp opens rapidly and releases the seed, which afterwards falls on the soil. Seeds need certain conditions in order to germinate, such as a wet or moist substrate, hot temperatures, low concentration of oxygen. As a relatively high temperature is needed to germinate, plant seeds growing at upper latitudes remain quiescent during winter, but that does not necessarily occurs at lower latitudes. Rhizomes shoot in spring, and leaves are produced rapidly. Flowering takes place at the beginning of summer, while the senescence of the leaves and the production of new rhizomes occurs in shallow water. In spring the growth is usually quick and sudden, and concerns almost only the growth of leaves. Due to its resistance to elevated biological pollution it is employed in wastewater treatment systems.
Habitat marshes, shallow waters, ditches, wet areas.

References Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University - Indiana
USDA Forest Service
Le Zone Umide della Toscana Settentrionale - Schede didattiche sulla flora
Web References http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/
Source of the photo http://www.naturesongs.com/

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