Cattails are tall, stiff plants, growing almost ten feet tall. The leaves look like giant blades of grass, about one inch wide. The flower has two parts; a brown cylinder (the female part), and a yellow spike (the male part).

Cattails are usually found in a dense stand (many together).
Common Cattails have roots that creep, called rhizomes. Rhizomes grow new shoots quickly. This creates the thick stands which are great cover  for the many animals which live among them.

Red-winged Blackbirds are probably the animal most associated with cattails. The blackbirds are often seen in groups perching on them. They also build their nests on them.

Besides Red-winged Blackbirds, waterfowl, such as Mallards and Canada Geese, nest among cattails. Frogs and salamanders will lay their eggs in the water on and between them. Fish will hide or nest among them.

Muskrats eat Common Cattails and use them to build their houses. White-tailed Deer, Raccoons, Eastern Cottontails, and Turkey all use cattails as cover. Many species of insects eat and live on them.

Common Cattails flower from May to July. In early fall, the brown flower head pops open, letting its fluffy seeds emerge. These seeds are carried by wind or water to new places.

Many species of birds use the fluff to line their nests.

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