Genus of the Week
Week of December 28 - January 3
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
image above © 1999-2000 www.arttoday.com
Number of Species: around 15
Root: From the Greek "tu+fh", meaning "cat's-tail".
The genus Typha, most commonly referred to as Reedmace Bulrush or Cattails, consists of
aquatic species often found in marshy areas. Although these monoecious plants do reproduce
sexually, releasing a vast number of tiny nutlike seeds, they also form tight clumps through
vegetative reproduction. Animals such as muskrats and waterfowl rely on this genus for food
and protection. Humans have also found that the root and shoot tips make an interesting
addition to salads and soups.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Typha species:
- The USGS and the NPS have joined together to form a Vegetation Mapping Program. Click
here to see an aerial photo of
T. latifolia, taken near the Tuzigoot National Monument, located in Arizona. Then click
here to read about the
Herbaceous Alliance between Cattails and other wetland species.
- The University of Florida's Aquatic and Wetland Plants Information Retrieval System has a
brief description of the genus
Typha. Be sure to click on the thumbnail .gif to see the full-size image.
- Typha species are often used by gardeners as an attractive way to landscape wet and
marshy areas. The EPA has a special web page devoted to "Green Landscaping", and offers a pretty
photo of Cattails in the snow.
- The Autralian National Botanic Gardens has an interesting page about the
economic uses of Typha species, including a drawing of nets made from leaf fibres.
- Read all about the
characteristics of Typha species and the
management of this genus using fire at the Fire Effects Information System web site.
- The Vascular Plant Image Gallery at Texas A&M University has several
photos of Typha species, including close-ups of the inflorescences and a photo of
rows of plants being prepared for weaving.
- The Herbal Library at Healthlink.com.au has several intersting uses for
the pollen of Typha plants.
- Genders, Roy. Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Natural Foods. New York, van der Marck Editions: 1988.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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