Stems: stout. Leaves: nearly equalling or exceeding the stems," linear, flat, ensiform, with sheathing base. Flowers: very numerous in dense, terminal spikes. Fruit: nut-like, small, usually splitting on one side.

A common marsh plant, with long, ribbon-like leaves, and a tall stem surmounted by a dense, dark-brown flower spike. The old Italian Masters frequently painted the Cat-tail in the hand of the Saviour as a mock-sceptre in their pictures of the Crowning of the Christ with Thorns. It is often confused with the Bulrush (Scirpus).