Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Typha domingensis, Southern Cattail

Southern Cattail has both male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers, male flowers on top, separated by a small naked stem, female flowers on the bottom. Typha domingensis Southern Cattail grows erect to 12 feet or so, leaves are long, narrow and slender. Typha domingensis Southern Cattail has the potential to choke out native plant species; here is another extremely invasive plant in Arizona, Floating Primrose-willow (Ludwigia peploides) aggressively encroaching on a colony of Southern Cattail. Typha domingensis Southern Cattail normally thrives in brackish back waters but is fully capable of growing successful in running waters. Typha domingensis

Scientific Name: Typha domingensis
Common Name: Southern Cattail
Also Called: Cattail, Southern Cat-tail (Spanish: Tule)
Family: Typhaceae, Cattail Family
Synonyms: (Typha angustata)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 12 feet more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect shoots; creeping rootstock from rhizomes.
Leaves: Green; long, narrow and slender leaves; sheath tapered to blade.
Flower Color: Yellow (male) inconspicuous; very small on terminal spikes; flowers unisexual, monecious, naked axis between male and female flowers, male flowers on the top of the spike and female flowers below.
Flowering Season: June to July; March to August in Texas.
Elevation: Sea level to 6,500 feet; below 4,500 feet in California.
Habitat Preferences: Riparian areas, wet-lands, moist areas and marshes.
Recorded Range: Typha domingensis is found mostly in the southern ½ of the United States. It is also native to Baja California and is found throughout Mexico. This species also occurs in the West Indies; Central America; South America; West Indies; Eurasia; Africa; Pacific Islands (New Zealand); Australia. In Arizona it is found throughout the state in preferred habitat.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Typha domingensis.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Typha domingensis has the following wetland designations: Arid West, OBL; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, OBL; Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, OBL; Great Plains, OBL; Midwest, OBL; Northcentral & Northeast, OBL; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, OBL.
OBL = Obligate Wetland, almost always occur in wetlands

Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 3 species and 5 accepted taxa overall for Typha. World wide, The Plant List includes 38 accepted species names and includes a further 63 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States there are 3 species of Typha and 2 hybrids. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

There are 2 hybrid cattails in Typha;
Typha ×bethulona [domingensis × latifolia], (AR, CA, FL, MO, NC, NE);
Typha ×glauca [angustifolia or domingensis × latifolia], (E½ North America and scattered western states).

Comments: Typha domingensis may become aggressive and choke out native plants and close large areas of surface water. Typically found in brackish water or damp, wet soil.

Typha domingensis has been used for food and building materials southwestern indigenous peoples.
Havasupai Fiber, Building Material, Stalks and leaves used in thatching houses.
Kawaiisu Fiber, Building Material, Long leaves used in house construction.
Paiute, Northern Fiber, Basketry, Used for wefts and binding tule items.
Paiute, Northern Food, Bread & Cake, Seeds gathered into a dough, kneaded, made into flat cakes and roasted under hot coals.
Paiute, Northern Food, Porridge, Seeds roasted, ground into a meal and stone boiled into a mush.
Pima, Gila River Food, Unspecified, Roots eaten raw.
See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 09/19/2016
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/19/2016)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/19/2016).
Smith, Galen S. FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 22 | Typhaceae | Typha ; 3. Typha domingensis Persoon, Syn. Pl. 2: 532. 1807. Southern cat-tail (accessed 09/19/2016)
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 09/19/2016]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 09/19/2016),9390,9392
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information 09/19/2016).