Typha angustifolia

Botanical Name : Typha angustifolia
Family: Typhaceae
Genus: Typha
Species: T. angustifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Names:Lesser Bulrush , Narrowleaf Cattail , Lesser Reedmace,Small Reed Mace, Cattail

Habitat : Typha angustifolia  grows  throughout the world from the Arctic to latitude 30° S, including Britain but absent from Africa.This is found in  water up to 15cm deep, avoiding acid conditions. Often somewhat brackish or subsaline water or wet soil in America, growing from sea level to elevations of 1900 metres.

Description:
Typha angustifolia is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft). The plant’s leaves are flat, very narrow (¼”-½” wide), and 3′-6′ tall when mature; 12-16 leaves arise from each vegetative shoot. At maturity, they have distinctive stalks that are about as tall as the leaves; the stalks are topped with brown, fluffy, sausage-shaped flowering heads. The plants have sturdy, rhizomatous roots that can extend 27″ and are typically ¾”-1½” in diameter.

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It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation :
A very easily grown plant, it grows in boggy pond margins or in shallow water up to 15cm deep. It requires a rich soil if it is to do well. Succeeds in sun or part shade. A very invasive plant spreading freely at the roots when in a suitable site, it is not suitable for growing in small areas. Unless restrained by some means, such as a large bottomless container, the plant will soon completely take over a site and will grow into the pond, gradually filling it in. This species will often form an almost complete monoculture in boggy soil. The dense growth provides excellent cover for water fowl.

Propagation : 
Seed – surface sow in a pot and stand it in 3cm of water. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible and, as the plants develop, increase the depth of water. Plant out in summer. Division in spring. Very easy, harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 – 30cm tall, making sure there is at least some root attached, and plant them out into their permanent positions.

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Edible Uses  :    
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  PollenRoot;  Seed;  Stem.

Roots – raw or cooked. They can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The roots can also be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours. Rich in protein, this powder is used to make biscuits etc. Young shoots in spring – raw or cooked. An asparagus substitute. Base of mature stem – raw or cooked. It is best to remove the outer part of the stem. Young flowering stem – raw, cooked or made into a soup. It tastes like sweet corn. Seed – cooked. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest, but it has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Due to the small size of the seed this is probably not a very worthwhile crop. Pollen – raw or cooked. A protein rich additive to flour used in making bread, porridge etc. It can also be eaten with the young flowers, which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested.

Medicinal Uses:

Anticoagulant;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Haemostatic;  Lithontripic;  Miscellany.

The pollen is diuretic, emmenagogue and haemostatic. The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes haemostatic. It is used internally in the treatment of kidney stones, internal haemorrhage of almost any kind, painful menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, post-partum pains, abscesses and cancer of the lymphatic system. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhoea and injuries. An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of gravel.

In Chinese herbal medicine, the astringent pu huang pollen has been employed chiefly to stop internal or external bleeding.  The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes hemostatic. The pollen may be mixed with honey and applied to wounds and sores, or taken orally to reduce internal bleeding of almost any kind—for example, nosebleeds, uterine bleeding, or blood in the urine.  The pollen is now also used in the treatment of angina.  Pu huang does not appear to have been used as a medicine in the European herbal tradition.  The dregs remaining after the pollen has been sifted from the stamens and sepals can be browned in an oven or hot skillet and then used as an internal or external astringent in dysentery and other forms of bowel hemorrhage.  It is used internally in the treatment of kidney stones, internal hemorrhage of almost any kind, painful menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, post-partum pains, abscesses and cancer of the lymphatic system. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhea and injuries.  An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of gravel.

Other Uses  :
Biomass;  Insulation;  Miscellany;  Oil;  Paper;  Soil stabilization;  Stuffing;  Thatching;  Tinder;  Weaving.

The stems and leaves have many uses, they make a good thatch, can be used in making paper, can be woven into mats, chairs, hats etc. They are a good source of biomass, making an excellent addition to the compost heap or used as a source of fuel etc. The hairs of the fruits are used for stuffing pillows etc. They have good insulating and buoyancy properties. The female flowers make an excellent tinder and can be lit from the spark of a flint. The pollen is highly inflammable and is used in making fireworks. This plants extensive root system makes it very good for stabilizing wet banks of rivers, lakes etc.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typha_angustifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Typha+angustifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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