While many people are familiar with cattails, they should know that cattails represent a genus of about thirty different species. Cattails belong to the Typha genus, and they will often be identified according to their genus specifically. The cattail does not represent a single species. For the most part, cattails of all species are going to be found in wetland habitats, specifically on the edge of ponds. Cat tails are primarily located in the Northern hemisphere habitats, but they are still going to be found in habitats elsewhere throughout the world.
Many of the most common types of cattails include the Hybrid Cattail or White Cattail. This cattail is primarily found in Europe, despite some representation in North America. The Broad Leaf Cattail, which is also known as Typha latifolia, is found in both tropical and temperate environments. Cattail seedlings typically germinate in late spring, and the cattails themselves tend to be visible during the summer months. Cattails are easily distinguished by their long, tubular flower heads, which automatically set them apart from many of the other plants that line a marsh.
It should be noted that cattails have managed to play an impressive role in wartime over the years. They are useful as a survival dinner, for one thing. Cattails were often used as sources of down during World War Two. During World War Two, everything was being rationed. People needed to come up with creative solutions to get around many of the subsequent shortages that had occurred all over the world. Cattails exist in abundance in Europe and in North America, so using cattails for the sake of down in pillows made perfect sense.
Cattail Food Chains
Controlling the cat tail plant is not easy. Cattails are among the most aggressive plants that people are going to find in any wetland habitat. They have a tendency to breed fast, crowd out the resources that the other plants need, and dominate the local ecosystem fairly quickly. There is a reason why these plants have such a broad distribution in the first place. There is also a reason why people have a tendency to envision wetlands as being surrounded by cattails. These are the sorts of plants that can achieve a level of prominence like that, and they will dominate the public’s imagination just as surely.
Mowing or burning the cattails is often a successful strategy for killing the cattails. The aerenchymous stalks need to be removed, or the process is not going to work. Some significant flooding will then take care of anything that is left of the cattails, preventing them from growing back. Muskrats like to eat cattails, and some people have achieved success by introducing more muskrats into a given area in order to control the aggressive cattails. Cattails are a good match against other plants, but they have few defenses against their natural predators.
In some cases, a weed razer is going to do the trick for getting rid of the stalks and cattail shoots. Still, cattail removal needs to be done at the right stages. Once they have become well-established in a particular area, it is going to be that much harder to get rid of them, as they will have transformed the area in the process.
Benefits of Cattails
Many people only think of cattails in terms of their role as perennial plants and dense stands. Their potential for home remedies is hugely underrated.
Cattail rhizomes are also edible, as soldiers in various wars have discovered for themselves. In fact, they may have been used as a food source or a dietary supplement in Europe thirty thousand years ago, and the practice has not entirely gone away in many traditional cultures today. Cattails’ status as edible plants should not be discounted. The rhizomes are fairly high in protein at a level that is comparable to maize, which has been a staple of the cuisine of many different cultures for a long time.
The Native Americans frequently used parts of the cattail plant as tinder for the sake of lighting fires. Other cultures may use the cattail plant, or at least parts of it, to stuff pillows and other household items.
However, the true power of cattails lies in their rootstocks. Boiled rootstocks have been used to make a paste that can treat infections and slow down bleeding. This paste may promote skin health in general, and play an important role in antiseptic application. Some people even use parts of the cattail plant in cancer prevention.
There are plenty of delicious cattail recipes out there for the people who are interested in exploring some traditional herbal recipes. People can put cattails shoot components into biscuits, breads, soups, rice pilaf, and casseroles. From a dietary standpoint and a culinary standpoint, cattail shoot components are basically grains, and they can be treated that way in the recipes that people will try with them. Peeled cattail flower heads can even be used to make side dishes that are similar to corn on the cob, and which are going to taste in a way that is reminiscent of corn on the cob.
Still, it is often good for beginners to start out with cattail soup. They will need wild rice, chopped green onion, salt, sesame oil, chicken broth, and sliced cattail shoots. The rice should be cooked until it is tender. The cattail shoots and onions can be sauteed in the oil until they are also nice and tender. Then, the ingredients can be stirred into the chicken broth and simmered together for around twenty minutes before it is time to serve everything. From there, people will have their hands on an herbal recipe for soup that feels wonderfully earthy and traditional.
Bringing back cattail shoots into the culinary traditions of the West may be able to help with a lot of different environmental problems. People will be able to get rid of a resource that exists in abundance. They will also be able to enjoy a nutritious and delicious natural resource that requires no additional processing.