Friday, December 28, 2007

Exploding Cattail

Ooooh how I love an exploded cattail! But then again, I also love a non exploding cattail too.
This first picture is a close up of some tails I found at Country Lane Woods. It is a typical scene near any body of wetland around. This time of year you will find the seed head to have "exploded" (my term, not a smart scientific term), they start to do this in late fall and continue through winter. What a neat plant it is and with so many uses, it's very functional to humans and wildlife alike.

Here is where they live, near water. I love to watch them sway in the wind, it's very tranquil. Who uses them? Let's learn about it.

Let's Learn About Cattail:

Where does it grow? Marshes, swamps, ditches, stagnant water, ponds, lakes...clusters around any wetland, all over the Northern Hemisphere.
How tall can it be? Very tall, can be 10 feet tall!
Other names for it? Bulrush, punks, duck tails, candlewicks.
Wildlife that use it? Muskrats, beavers and geese eat it. Red-wing black birds, bitterns, coots, marsh wrens, and many others nest in it. Many birds also use the fluffy material as lining for their nests.
Humans use it? Yes, root stems are edible and early leaves, but I wouldn't touch it unless you know what your doing and I don't. Baskets can be weaved out of the leaves, the Indians also use to dry it out and make a flour.

Don't worry, there's a scientific name for the cattail which I won't make anyone know. Let's just enjoy the cattail for what it is!