Aquatic or marsh herbs with linear sword-shaped leaves, erect or floating, and monoecious flowers, either in separate heads or on different parts of the same spike or spadix, but without a spathe, and destitute of true floral envelopes. Fruit an achene, 1-seeded.
1. Typha. Flowers in a very dense and long cylindrical terminal spike, the upper ones staminate, the lower pistillate, the ovaries long stalked and surrounded by copious bristles forming the down of the fruit. Leaves sword-shaped, erect, sheathing the stem below.
2. Sparga'nium. Flowers in separate globular heads along the upper part of the stem, the higher ones staminate, the lower ones pistillate, each ovary sessile and surrounded by a few scales not unlike a calyx. Both kinds of heads leafy-bracted. Leaves flat or triangular, sheathing the stem with their bases.
1. T. latifolia, L. (Common Cat-tail.) Stem 5-8 feet high. Leaves flat: No space between the staminate and pistillate parts of the spike. - Marshy places.
2. S. angustifo'lia, L. (Narrow-leaved or Small Cattail.) Leaves channelled towards the base, narrowly linear. The two parts of the spike usually with an interval between them. - Central and eastern Ontario.
1. S. eurycar'pum, Engelm. Stem erect, stout, 2-4 feet high. Leaves mostly flat on the upper side, keeled and hollow-sided on the lower. Heads several, panicled-spiked, the pistillate an inch across in fruit. Nutlets or achenes with a broad abruptly-pointed top. - Borders of slow waters and ponds.
2. S. simplex, Huds. Stem slender, erect, 6-24 inches high. Leaves more or less channelled and 3-angled, about one-third of an inch wide. Fertile heads about half an inch broad in fruit. Stigma linear. - Borders of ponds, etc.
Var. and roc'ladum, Engelm., (S. androcladum, Morong.) is stouter and taller, with usually broader leaves, and branching inflorescence. Fruiting heads also somewhat larger.
Var. angustifo'lium, Engelm., (S. affine, Schnitzlein.) is very slender, with leaves floating, long and narrow and flat. Inflorescence simple, and fruiting heads smaller.
3. S. minimum, Fries. Usually floating, with very slender stems, and thin flat narrow leaves. Fertile heads only 1 or 2. Stigma oval. Fruit oblong-obovate, pointed, somewhat triangular.