Cattail / Bulrush

Typha capensis

Bulrush, Typha, in Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Growing in water about 10cm deep in a roadside ditch, Nairobi, Kenya. Dec 2015.

Typha capensis flower/seed spikes in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Typha leaves are alternate and mostly basal on a simple, jointless stem that bears the flowering spikes. The plants are monoecious, with unisexual flowers that develop in dense racemes. The numerous male flowers form a narrow spike at the top of the vertical stem. Each male (staminate) flower is reduced to a pair of stamens and hairs, and withers once the pollen is shed. Large numbers of tiny female flowers form a dense, sausage-shaped spike on the stem below the male spike. In larger species this can be up to 30 centimetres long and 1 to 4 centimetres thick. The seeds are minute, 0.2 millimetres long, and attached to fine hairs. When ripe, the heads disintegrate into a cottony fluff from which the seeds disperse by wind.

Typhaceae -- Cattail Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created on 01 June 2016.