The cattail has to be the most useful plant known to North America. For the outdoors person it is a gold mine. This plant has utility uses, medicinal and is a food source.
Cattails can be identified by their long cylindrical brown seed heads. It looks like grass. Their is a variety that looks just like the cattail but it is poisonous. As with all edible plants positive identification will keep you out of harms way.
As a food cattails offer an outstanding variety. They can be used in salads, eaten raw, used in stews, both the male and female spikes can be boiled and taste very similar to corn. Flour can be made from these plants.The Native Americans would boil the roots to make a syrup which was used to sweeten up their recipes.
The medicinal uses of the cattail include antiseptic for wounds, cuts, burns, bruises and toothaches.
As an utility hats, chairs, insulation for jackets, shelter building materials, and a host of other uses have been done and used for centuries.
Cattails provide food and nesting area’s for birds and wildlife. Birds use the white fluff from the brown cylinder seed to soften their nests with.
For more on the cattail Jaxs and Kim recommend you read The Incredible Cattail “The Super Wal-Mart of the Swamp” by Kevin F. Duffy