Fun With Cattail Spikes

When exploring a wetland with my daughter, we came upon some cattail plants (Typha sp.) When I saw them, I remembered how fun they can be. We had a pleasant time together discovering or re-discovering the amazing qualities of cattail spikes.

You have got to try this! Find a cattail flower spike in winter or early spring when last year’s flowers produced a sausage-like thing that is magic: or something close to it. Try pulling a handful off and hold it tight, then watch when you open your hand. It will explode into a soft landscape full of tiny seeds. Each seed has a bit of fluff attached; the purpose is to allow wind to carry the seed off to new locations.

All I ask is that you don’t play with all the spikes. Leave most of them alone. Did you know that some birds use the fluff to line their nests?

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