The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Typha angustifolia
Typha angustifolia
(narrow-leaved cattail)

Copyright Info
Typha angustifolia L.

Common name: narrow-leaved cattail

Synonyms and Other Names: Typha angustifolia var. calumetensis Peattle, Typha angustifolia var. elongata (Dudley) Wiegand, lesser reed-mace, nail-rod, small reed-mace, southern reedmace, narrowleaf cattail, narrow-leaf cat-tail

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Erect shoots 150--300 cm, not glaucous; flowering shoots 5--12 mm thick in middle; stems 2--3 mm thick near inflorescence. Leaves: sheath sides membranous, margin broadly clear, summit with membranous auricles which often disintegrate late in season; mucilage glands at sheath-blade transition brown, absent from blade and usually from sheath center near summit; widest blades on shoot 4--12 mm wide when fresh, 3--8 mm when dry; distal blade usually markedly exceeding inflorescence. Inflorescences: staminate spikes separated from pistillate by 1--8(--12) cm of naked axis, ca. as long as pistillate, 1 cm thick in anthesis; staminate scales variable in same spike, straw-colored to medium brown, filiform, simple to bifid or sometimes cuneate and irregularly branched, to 6 ï‚´ 0.1 mm; pistillate spikes in flower when fresh dark brown with whitish stigmas (drying brown), later medium brown, in fruit when fresh as stigmas wear off often greenish due to green carpodia, (4--)6--20 cm ï‚´ 5--6 mm in flower, 13--22 mm in fruit; compound pedicels in fruit peg-like, 0.5--0.7 mm; pistillate bracteole blades forming spike surface before flowering, later exceeded by stigmas and about equaling or slightly exceeded by pistil hairs, very dark to medium brown, much darker than (or sometimes as dark as) stigmas, irregularly spatulate, 0.6 ï‚´ 0.1--0.2 mm, wider than or about as wide as stigmas, apex rounded (to acute). Staminate flowers 4--6 mm; anthers 1.5--2 mm, thecae yellow, apex dark brown; pollen in monads or some in irregular clusters. Pistillate flowers 2 mm in flower, 5--7 mm in fruit; pistil-hair tips medium brown, distinctly swollen at 10--20X; stigmas sometimes deciduous in fruit, in flower erect, elongating, bending to form surface mat, white in flower, drying brownish, later medium brown, narrowly linear-lanceolate, 0.6--1.4 ï‚´ 0.1 mm; carpodia slightly exceeded by and visible among pistil hairs at mature spike surface, green when young and fresh, straw-colored with orange-brown spots when dry, apex nearly truncate. 2n = 30.  

The best time to try to distinguish T. angustifolia from the native T. latifolia is in late summer when the flowers are fully developed (Campbell et al. 2010). Typha angustifolia has narrower leaves and a 2-12 cm gap between the male and female portions of the flower (Campbell et al. 2010, Miklovic 2000).

The invasive hybrid, Typha x glauca, may be difficult to distinguish from its parent species, but typically has an intermediate leaf width and gap size (Campbell et al. 2010, Higman and Campbell 2009).

Size: Up to 7 feet tall

Native Range: Northern Africa, temperate Asia, Eurasia (GRIN)

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Typha angustifolia are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL201420181Upper Alabama
AR196520206Bayou D'Arbonne; Beaver Reservoir; Big; Illinois; Lower St. Francis; Lower White
CA1909201948Aliso-San Onofre; Antelope-Fremont Valleys; Big Chico Creek-Sacramento River; California Region; Central Coastal; Coyote; Coyote-Cuddeback Lakes; Cuyama; East Walker; Honcut Headwaters-Lower Feather; Honey-Eagle Lakes; Indian Wells-Searles Valleys; Lake Tahoe; Lower American; Lower Sacramento; Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi-Grapevine; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Newport Bay; Owens Lake; Panamint Valley; Sacramento-Stone Corral; Salinas; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Coastal South; San Gabriel; San Joaquin Delta; San Luis Rey-Escondido; San Pablo Bay; Santa Ana; Santa Barbara Coastal; Santa Clara; Santa Margarita; Santa Ynez; South Fork American; South Fork Eel; Southern Mojave; Suisun Bay; Thomes Creek-Sacramento River; Trinity; Upper Cache; Upper Calaveras California; Upper Cosumnes; Upper Kern; Upper Mokelumne; Upper Putah; Upper Stony; Ventura; Whitewater River
CT199420184Housatonic; New England Region; Outlet Connecticut River; Thames
DE201120172Brandywine-Christina; Broadkill-Smyrna
DC200820182Mid Atlantic Region; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan
FL189120063Everglades; Florida Bay-Florida Keys; Oklawaha
ID200820202Pacific Northwest Region; Portneuf
IL1898202242Big Muddy; Cahokia-Joachim; Chicago; Copperas-Duck; Des Plaines; Embarras; Flint-Henderson; Iroquois; Kankakee; Kishwaukee; Little Calumet-Galien; Little Wabash; Lower Fox; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua; Lower Illinois-Senachwine Lake; Lower Ohio; Lower Ohio-Bay; Lower Rock; Lower Sangamon; Macoupin; Middle Kaskaskia; Middle Wabash-Busseron; Pike-Root; Rock; Saline; Salt; Skillet; South Fork Sangamon; Spoon; Upper Fox; Upper Illinois; Upper Illinois; Upper Kaskaskia; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau; Upper Mississippi-Kaskaskia-Meramec; Upper Mississippi-Meramec; Upper Sangamon; Vermilion; Wabash
IN2000201618Kankakee; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower White; Middle Ohio-Laughery; Middle Wabash-Busseron; Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion; Patoka-White; Silver-Little Kentucky; St. Joseph; St. Joseph; Sugar; Tippecanoe; Upper Illinois; Upper Wabash; Upper White; Wabash; Whitewater; Wildcat
IA200820184Apple-Plum; North Raccoon; South Skunk; Winnebago
LA198420184Boeuf; Lake Maurepas; Mermentau; West Central Louisiana Coastal
ME200920183Maine Coastal; Mattawamkeag River; Presumpscot
MD193620208Choptank; Gunpowder-Patapsco; Lower Potomac; Mid Atlantic Region; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Middle Potomac-Catoctin; Patuxent; Tangier
MA196920113Cape Cod; Charles; New England Region
MI1877202160Au Gres-Rifle; Au Sable; Betsie-Platte; Betsy-Chocolay; Black-Macatawa; Black-Presque Isle; Boardman-Charlevoix; Brule; Carp-Pine; Cedar-Ford; Cheboygan; Clinton; Dead-Kelsey; Detroit; Escanaba; Fishdam-Sturgeon; Flint; Great Lakes Region; Huron; Kalamazoo; Kawkawlin-Pine; Keweenaw Peninsula; Lake Erie; Lake Huron; Lake Michigan; Lake St. Clair; Lake Superior; Little Calumet-Galien; Lone Lake-Ocqueoc; Lower Grand; Manistee; Manistique River; Menominee; Michigamme; Muskegon; Northeastern Lake Michigan; Northwestern Lake Huron; Ontonagon; Ottawa-Stony; Pere Marquette-White; Pigeon-Wiscoggin; Pine; Raisin; Shiawassee; Southeastern Lake Michigan; Southwestern Lake Huron; St. Clair; St. Clair-Detroit; St. Joseph; St. Joseph; St. Marys; Sturgeon; Tacoosh-Whitefish; Tahquamenon; Thornapple; Thunder Bay; Tiffin; Tittabawassee; Upper Grand; Western Lake Erie
MN1971201862Beaver-Lester; Big Fork; Buffalo; Buffalo-Whitewater; Cannon; Chippewa; Clearwater; Clearwater-Elk; Cloquet; Crow; Des Moines Headwaters; Eastern Wild Rice; Elk-Nokasippi; Hawk-Yellow Medicine; Kettle; Lac Qui Parle; Lake of the Woods; Leech Lake; Little Sioux; Long Prairie; Lower Big Sioux; Lower Minnesota; Lower Rainy; Lower St. Croix; Middle Minnesota; Middle Red; Minnesota; Mississippi Headwaters; Mississippi Headwaters; Mustinka; Otter Tail; Pine; Platte-Spunk; Pomme De Terre; Prairie-Willow; Rainy Headwaters; Rainy Lake; Red Lake; Red Lakes; Redeye; Redwood; Rock; Root; Roseau; Rum; Sauk; Shell Rock; Snake; South Fork Crow; St. Croix; St. Louis; Thief; Twin Cities; Two Rivers; Upper Cedar; Upper Des Moines; Upper Minnesota; Upper Mississippi-Black-Root; Upper Mississippi-Crow-Rum; Upper Red; Vermilion; Watonwan
NE1946201911Big Papillion-Mosquito; Lower Elkhorn; Lower Niobrara; Lower South Platte; Middle Niobrara; Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff; Middle Platte-Buffalo; Missouri Region; Salt; Upper North Loup; West Fork Big Blue
NV200220082Hot Creek-Railroad Valleys; Meadow Valley Wash
NH200820182New England; Waits River-Connecticut River
NJ197220206Cohansey-Maurice; Lower Delaware; Mid-Atlantic Region; Middle Delaware-Musconetcong; Mullica-Toms; Raritan
NY1880202338Bronx; Buffalo-Eighteenmile; Chaumont-Perch; Chautauqua-Conneaut; Conewango; Eastern Lake Erie; Great Lakes Region; Headwaters St. Lawrence River; Hudson-Hoosic; Hudson-Wappinger; Irondequoit-Ninemile; Lake Erie; Lake Ontario; Long Island; Lower Genesee; Lower Hudson; Lower Hudson; Middle Hudson; Mohawk; Niagara River; Northeastern Lake Ontario; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Oneida; Oswego; Oswego; Rondout; Sacandaga; Salmon-Sandy; Sandy Hook-Staten Island; Saranac River; Seneca; Southern Long Island; Southwestern Lake Ontario; St. Lawrence; Tioga; Upper Allegheny; Upper Delaware; Upper Hudson
NC189820206Albemarle; Coastal Carolina; Lower Cape Fear; Pamlico Sound; Upper Catawba; Upper French Broad
ND199920113Lower Heart; Middle Sheyenne; Painted Woods-Square Butte
OH2003202229Ashtabula-Chagrin; Auglaize; Black-Rocky; Cedar-Portage; Cuyahoga; Grand; Hocking; Huron-Vermilion; Lake Erie; Licking; Little Miami; Little Muskingum-Middle Island; Lower Great Miami, Indiana, Ohio; Lower Scioto; Mahoning; Mohican; Muskingum; Ohio Brush-Whiteoak; Paint; Raccoon-Symmes; Sandusky; Southern Lake Erie; Tuscarawas; Upper Ohio-Beaver; Upper Ohio-Wheeling; Upper Scioto; Upper Wabash; Western Lake Erie; Wills
OK200820195Arkansas-White-Red Region; Lower Beaver; Lower Cimarron-Skeleton; Lower North Canadian; Lower Salt Fork Arkansas
OR192920196Harney-Malheur Lakes; Lower Columbia; Lower Owyhee; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Middle Owyhee; Pacific Northwest Region
PA1920202127Allegheny; Bald Eagle; Chautauqua-Conneaut; Clarion; Conemaugh; Connoquenessing; French; Lake Erie; Lehigh; Lower Delaware; Lower Delaware; Lower Monongahela; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Middle Allegheny-Tionesta; Middle Delaware-Musconetcong; Schuylkill; Susquehanna; Upper Allegheny; Upper Delaware; Upper Juniata; Upper Ohio; Upper Ohio-Beaver; Upper Ohio-Wheeling; Upper Susquehanna; Upper West Branch Susquehanna
RI200820081New England Region
SC193920205Broad-St. Helena; Cooper; Santee; St. Helena Island; Waccamaw
SD200820117Lower Big Sioux; Middle Big Sioux; Middle James; Missouri Region; North Fork Snake; Snake; Upper James
TX198920114Delaware; East Galveston Bay; North Laguna Madre; Terlingua
VT191020184Hudson-Hoosic; Lake Champlain; Missiquoi River; Winooski River
VA201120197Albemarle; Chincoteague; Eastern Lower Delmarva; Lower James; Lower Potomac; Lynnhaven-Poquoson; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan
WA1997201814Duwamish; Lake Washington; Lower Crab; Lower Skagit; Methow; Nisqually; Nooksack; Palouse; Puget Sound; Snohomish; Strait of Georgia; Upper Columbia-Entiat; Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids; Upper Spokane
WV200820183Little Kanawha; Tygart Valley; Upper Monongahela
WI1959202242Bad-Montreal; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black-Presque Isle; Brule; Buffalo-Whitewater; Castle Rock; Chippewa; Door-Kewaunee; Duck-Pensaukee; Flambeau; Fox; La Crosse-Pine; Lake Dubay; Lake Michigan; Lake Superior; Lake Winnebago; Lower Chippewa; Lower Fox; Lower St. Croix; Lower Wisconsin; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Menominee; Middle Rock; Milwaukee; Namekagon; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Oconto; Pecatonica; Peshtigo; Red Cedar; Rock; South Fork Flambeau; Southwestern Lake Michigan; St. Louis; Upper Chippewa; Upper Fox; Upper Fox; Upper Rock; Upper St. Croix; Upper Wisconsin; Wisconsin
WY200820121Lower Laramie

Table last updated 5/30/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for states where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).

Ecology: Typha angustifolia can be found in the following habitats: marshes, ditches, fens, pond and lake margins, floating bog mats, roadside ditches, irrigation canals, oxbow lakes, and backwater areas of rivers and streams (Campbell et al. 2010Stevens and Hoag 2006). Narrow-leaved cattail prefers full sun, wet conditions, and muddy soil (Wesson and Waring 1969 in Miklovic 2000). It can be found in wetlands at elevations lower than 2000 m (Stevens and Hoag 2006).  It tolerates continuous inundation, seasonal drawdowns, and brackish waters (Ohio EPA 2011, Stevens and Hoag 2006). Typha angustifolia also tolerates road salt and excessive silt and nutrients (Campbell et al. 2010). Its ability to grow rapidly and tolerate environmental stressors enables it to dominate in inhospitable niches.

In waters where T. latifolia and T. angustifolia are present, T. latifolia will often be in shallower waters closer to the shorelines, whereas T. angustifolia can survive in deeper water of 2-3 m (Weisner 1993).

This perennial species flowers from late spring through early summer and those flowers mature in mid-summer (Forest Helath Staff 2006, Weisner 1993). Flowers are velvety brown, cigar-shaped spikes that are 2-6 inches in length, with a gap between the lower (female) and upper (male) flowers (Forest Health Staff 2006). Typha angustifolia allocates approximately 20% of its biomass to its sexual structures (Grace and Harrison 1986 in Miklovic 2000). The female flowers, which are fertilized by the wind, develop into tufted seeds (nutlets). Each plant can produce between 20,000- 700,000 tiny seeds, which are also wind dispersed (Borland et al. 2009, Grace and Harrison 1986 in Miklovic 2000). Narrow-leaved cattail seeds do not require a dormancy period, but often need moist soil and sunlight for germination (Baskin and Baskin 1998 in Miklovic 2000). Seeds can remain viable up to 70-100 years depending on soil conditions (Borland et al. 2009, Wienhold and van der Valk 1989 in Miklovic 2000).  Typha angustifolia also has rhizomes and is able to spread vegetatively via these structures (Forest Health Staff 2006, Stevens and Hoag 2006).

Dead cattail shoots remain standing for up to two years before collapsing (Mason and Bryant 1975).

Means of Introduction: Dispersed via canals, railroads, and highways (Mills et al. 1993).  Some workers suggested T. angustifolia was introduced from Europe into Atlantic Coastal North America and migrated westward (R. L. Stuckey and D. P. Salamon 1987).

Status: Established

Impact of Introduction: Ecologically, this species can be very invasive in disturbed wetlands, where it tends to invade native plant communities when hydrology, salinity, or fertility changes. In this case, they out-compete native species, often becoming monotypic stands of dense cattails. Maintaining water flows into the wetland, reducing nutrient input, and maintaining salinity in tidal marshes will help maintain desirable species composition. If cattails begin to invade, physical removal may be necessary. In recent decades it has expanded its range in many regions and become much more abundant, especially in roadside ditches and other highly disturbed habitats.  As it often out-competes many native marsh species to produce very dense, pure stands, and hybridizes with T. latifolia to form the probably even more competitive T. glauca, T. angustifolia and T. glauca should perhaps be classified as noxious weeds in parts of North America.

Remarks: Many members of the public will recognize this species as a cattail; however, they may be less aware of the fact that there are two cattail species in Illinois. Because the characteristics of Narrow-Leaved Cattail and Typha latifolia (Common Cattail) overlap and they sometimes hybridize, it can be difficult to identify a specimen plant in the wild. The hybrid plants are referred to as Typha × glauca (Hybrid Cattail) and it has characteristics of both parents. Generally, Narrow-Leaved Cattail has narrow green leaves (up to ½" across) and pistillate spikes that are up to ¾" across and 1' long. Its pistillate spike and staminate spike are separated from each other by at least ½" (usually a few inches). In contrast, Common Cattail has green to greyish blue leaves that often exceed ½" across and its pistillate spikes are larger in size (often exceeding ¾" across and 1' in length). The pistillate and staminate spikes of Common Cattail are adjacent to each other, or they are separated by a distance of ½" or less.

References: (click for full references)

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Baskin, C.C., and J.M. Baskin. 1998. Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, Boston.

Borland, K., S. Campbell, R. Schillo, and P. Higman. 2009. A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 119 pp.

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Campbell, S., P. Higman, B. Slaughter, and E. Schools. 2010. A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan. Michigan DNRE, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 90 pp.

Chandra, R., and S. Yadav. 2010. Potential of Typha angustifolia for phytoremediation of heavy metal from aqueous solution of phenol and melanoidin. Ecological Engineering 36(10): 1277—1284.

Division of Forestry. 2011. Herbicide Sensitivity Table for Invasive Herbaceous Plants. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison, WI. 2 pp.

Fell, P.E., R.S Warren, J.K. Light, Jr. R.L. Rawson, and S.M. Fairley. 2003. Comparison of fish macroinvertebrate use of Typha angustifolia, Phragmites australis and treated Phragmites marshes along the Lower Connecticut River. Estuaries 26(2): 534—551.

Forest Health Staff. 2006. Narrow-leaved Cattail, Typha angustifolia L. Weed of the Week. USDA Forest Service. Newtown Square, PA. 1 pp.

Fruet, A.C., L.N. Seito, V.L. Rao, and L.C. Di Stasi. 2012. Dietary intervention with narrow-leaved cattail rhizome flour (Typha angustifolia L.) prevents intestinal inflammation in the trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid model of rat colitis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 12(1).

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Author: Cao, L., L. Berent, A. Fusaro, and J. Van Zeghbroeck

Revision Date: 1/19/2024

Citation Information:
Cao, L., L. Berent, A. Fusaro, and J. Van Zeghbroeck, 2024, Typha angustifolia L.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2679, Revision Date: 1/19/2024, Access Date: 5/30/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/30/2024].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted.

For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.