Monday, July 7, 2008


Cattails grow in marshes, swamps, ditches, and stagnant water—fresh or slightly brackish—worldwide. Finding them is a sure sign of water. The cattail’s every part has uses. It’s easy to harvest, very tasty, and highly nutritious. It was a major staple for the American Indians, who found it in such great supply, they didn’t need to cultivate it. The settlers missed out when they ignored this great food and destroyed its habitats, instead of cultivating it. Cattails and their associated microorganisms improve water and soil quality.

As a young girl, my mother went through a phase when she collected all kinds of weeds – mostly Queen Anne’s Lace, Mustard, Indian Pipes, and Silver Dollars – and dried them for use in floral arrangements. One particular time she trudged into a swampy area and cut cattails and brought them into the house to dry. If you have ever seen mature cattails, you would know that the soft brown stalk dries and turns to seed. My mother didn’t know this. Her cattails eventually dried and spewed seeds all over the house. It was a colossal mess! But, it was funny – very, very funny. She never brought cattails into the house again :)


Chere said...

Cattails are a wonderful weed to look at but needs to stay outside. I have wanted to put some in the pond on our farm. Fred looks at me in horror. They will take over if you are not careful. I guess that is why they are in the weed class. Duh!

Jamie Payne said...

I've always thought they were totally beautiful. I too thought I could dry them and bring them into the house but thankfully dad informed me of the dangers:)

Anonymous said...

Where in Georgia can I find some cattails?