Cattail Typha agustifolia Typha latifolia Cattails are one of the most versatile and wide spread wild edible plants that there are. They grow in desert water holes, mountain ponds, roadside ditches, northern swamps. The two main species that grow in America are Typha latifolia and T. agustifolia. The T. latifolia is much larger (3 to 5 meters tall [10 to 15 feet]), various (sub)species grow around the world. At the very top is the stamenate or pollen part of the cattail. It is good eating. Further down there is a distinct break and the undeveloped seed or fluff part. The lower part is good before it turns any brown. After any part of it turns brown it is tough and fibrous. You can cook both parts as you would cook corn on the cob. Some say it tastes like the cob. When they are at this stage, some people call them kittens tails. To collect some pollen, cover the cattail with a large plastic bag and beating the pollen out of the stamenate. After beating the pollen out, you can cut the cattail because they often break while beating them, the lower part is good for cooking yet. You can make a better harvester with a 3 liter pop bottel by making a 1.5 - 2 inch hole just below the curved part of the bottle on the cap end of the bottle. Put the cap on and insert the pollen laden cattail flower head through the hole you made. Tap the cattail stem to release the pollen into the pop bottle. More pollen will be ready to harvest in a day or two. 2 liter pop bottles work too, but the pollen tends to get stuck in the neck of the bottle when emptying it. A little of the pollen can be added to other flour to make bright yellow bread or pancakes. This pollen is high in protein like most pollens. The shoots of the cattail. can be yanked and cooked. Look at the cross section of a root. See the starch laden central core to the root. The outside layer is entirely fiber. To get the starch from the fibrous core; first by peeling off the outside layer and cutting away bruised parts where mud and sand have gotten into the root. Then tease the fibers apart so they release the starch by pounding them in a mortar or by crushing and teasing them in a bowl of water The water becomes ropy and slippery. Let the starch settle out and pour off the water and dry the starch and you have nutritious flower. Cattails are a wildly abundant food generally found throughout the world… You can follow the energy of the plant through the seasons, and can eat this plant virtually year-round. It’s rhizomes, corms, new shoots, immature male flower spikes and pollen all provide tasty wild food nourishment. Here is a curried cattail soup that is pretty tasty. Curried Cattail Soup 3 T butter 1 small onion, minced 1 1/2 cup cattail shoots, chopped 1 1/2 T curry powder 1 T cattail rhizome flour, or wheat flour 2 t Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce 4 c chicken or vegetable stock salt & pepper to taste Saute onion in butter until translucent. Add cattail shoots and curry powder. Saute 1-2 minutes and sprinkle cattail or wheat flour on top. Mix together and cook 1-2 minutes. Add liquid aminos/soy sauce, mix well and add stock. Bring soup to eating temperature, add salt & pepper to taste and serve.