15 May 2013

Broad-leaf Cattail or Bulrush - It's What's for Dinner

Any coverage of edibles in Texas should include the pervasive Cattails.  The type most often seen in this area are Typha latifolia, the Broad leaf Cattail or Bulrush.  It's a perennialherbaceous plant native in all states in the U.S., excluding Hawaii where it is considered a noxious weed and is not native.  It typically grows in water less than 2.6 feet deep.

Photo: www.discoverlife.org
Warning: Cattail roots should not be eaten raw!  

They are remarkable at pulling toxins from water sources.  If the plants are growing in polluted water, don't use cattails for food.  Runoff from roads, lead from auto exhaust and pesticides are all possible sources of contamination.  

They can be harvested in any season.  Researchers at Syracuse University found that they furnish calcium and their starch contains as much protein as corn or rice and more carbohydrate than potatoes.  

Join Rosalee and Xavier de la Foret as they venture into a Cattail swamp to demonstrate how to harvest and prepare Cattails.  This is the first video of 6 very interesting videos in their series of Cattail preparation videos:

A map of where Typha latifolia can be found. 
(sourced at www.discoverlife.org)

The flower spikes resemble corn dogs placed end to end.  The top cluster is of male flowers and the bottom cluster, females.  Remove the papery sheath surrounding the flowers.  Boil the clusters for a few minutes, and you can eat them like corn on the cob, coated with goat butter.  Cattail-on-the-cob's core of the cluster is hard and inedible.  

KingdomPlantae         Division: Magnoliophyta 

                        Order: Typhales                                 Family: Typhaceae                                         Genus: Typha L.                                                Species: Typha latifolia                                           ScientificName                                                   Typha latifolia                          
Common Name                                               Broad leaf Cattail     


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