Uses for Cattails

No wonder the Indians loved this plant...the uses are endless...scroll down to "other uses" and click to see all the things you can make with it.

Broadleaf Cattail (Typha latifolia L. )

Description - The stalk grows 4 to 8 feet tall. It  grows near water in thick stands. Leaves are large spear-shaped. Stalks are topped with hotdog-shaped, dark brown flowers. Young flowers start growing May through July.

Time of Year: fall to spring (is the best time) but can be used all year
Location:  All of North America
Click Here for map  If it does not grow in your area do a search to see what kind does

Nutrient Content
Potassium, phosphorus

Flowers, Leaves, oil, Pollen, Roots,Seed and Stems

Editable uses
  • Roots cooked are like potatoes 
  • Roots can also be boiled down to make a sweet syrup
  • Dry the roots and grind them into powder(high protien) mix with flours
  • Young shoots are like aspagus
  • Young flower spike cooked or  made into a soup taste and it has a corn taste
  • Heart of the stalk tastes like a cucumber great in salads and soups

Medical Uses
  • A small drop of a starchy or honey-like liquid, is found between young leaves can be used as an antiseptic for small wounds (it is a coagulant), toothaches, because it does have a mild numbing effect
  • Root can be pounded and used as a poultice for burns and sores
  • Young flowers can be eaten or in tea for diarrhea.
  • Fluff from the flowers can be used to treat burns and sores and to prevent chafing in babies
  • The ashes from the cattail leaves are styptic and can be used to stop bleeding
  • Boil roots in water and use it as a wash for sunburn
  • The pollen of the female ones can be used to heal wounds. When you see one yellow like this it is the female and that is pollen. .

Other Uses 

**First Here are a a bunch of  useful things you can make with Cattail. 

It can cal be used in the following 
  • Cattail fluff can be used in life jackets (just like milkweeds can be used to)
  • It can also be used in mattresses
  • Indians used in in their shoes to keep their feet warm and dry
  • And yes another paper making plant
  • Another good source of bio mass
  • the plup of the plant is what rayon is made of 
  • Leaves and stems can be used in weaving.


  1. I had no idea cattails had so many uses. I live a block from a large stormwater retention pond that is always full and I have harvested fluff for tinder. Im copying this post and adding it to my prep folder. thanks so much.

    1. You are welcome. I live about a block from them too. I tried to transplant some into my yard that was a fail. I think it is one of the most impressive plants I have come across so far.

  2. There is also a poisonous cattail lookalike so be careful.