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Genus of the Week

Week of December 28 - January 3

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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 of Typha latifolia
image above 1999-2000 www.arttoday.com
Subclass: Monocotyledoneae
Superorder: Commelinidae
Order: Typhales
Family: Typhaceae
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:


  1. Genders, Roy. Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Natural Foods. New York, van der Marck Editions: 1988.
  2. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  3. 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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