Typical varieties are Typha angustifolia (narrow leaf cattail) and Typha latifolia (broad leaf cattail). Distribution is worldwide. Optimum pH is 4 to 10. Salinity tolerance for narrow leaf is 15 to 30 ppt; broad leaf, <1 ppt. Growth is rapid, via rhizomes; the plant spreads laterally to provide dense cover in less than a year with 2-ft (0.6-m) plant spacing. Root penetration is relatively shallow in gravel (approximately 1 ft or 0.3 m). Annual yield is 14 (dw) ton/ac (30 mt/ha). Tissue (dw basis) is 45% C, 14% N, 2% P; 30% solids. Seeds and roots are a food source for water birds, muskrat, nutria, and beaver; cattails also provide nesting cover for birds. Cattails can be permanently inundated at >1 ft (0.3 m) but can also tolerate drought. They are commonly used on many FWS and SSF wetlands in the United States. The relatively shallow root penetration is not desirable for SSF systems without adjusting the design depth of bed.

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