Bulrush (or Cattail)

Bulrush (or Cattail)

Bulrush (or Cattail) - Typha latifolia

Local name Biodo or Biodano.

Famous for their characteristic, velvety cylindrical inflorescences, bulrushes are one of the symbols of fresh water wetlands.

The erect stems can grow from one to three metres high. The thick leaves have a wide sheath that wraps round the stem, and are more or less lenticular in section, with a long, linear flap and tapering to a sort of point, but which is round at the tip.

The underground portion of the plant consists of a perennial scaly rhizome, which as it grows horizontally assures the propagation of the plant by vegetative reproduction.

The inflorescence consists of two spikes (spadices) one on top of the other at the tip of the stem; the lower, female spike is larger and regularly cylindrical, the male spike is smaller and irregularly conical at the top.

More commonly known by the name of "Biodo" in Tuscany, the Bulrush has been widely employed in traditional crafts for making, baskets, furniture coverings, mats etc.

Because of its remarkable capacity to resist high levels of biological and chemical pollution of water, the Bulrush is one of the few species that can colonise even open sewers. For this reason it is widely used in modern phytodepuration systems.