This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Semi-aquatic herbs with a creeping rootstock, narrow linear sheathing leaves, and spicate or capitate monoecious flowers. Perianth none, or reduced to scales or hairs. Stamens definite or indefinite. Fruit dry or succulent, 1-celled and 1-seeded. There are two British genera of this affinity. 1. Typha, Cat's-tail, Bullrush, or Reed-mace, having the flowers in cylindrical spikes, the males at the top. T, latifolia (fig. 224) is a striking plant from 3 to 8 feet, in which the male and female portions of the spike are contiguous. T. angustifolia is a smaller species with narrower leaves and a distinct separation of the male and female flowers. 2. Sparganium, Bur-reed, has the flowers in racemes of globose heads furnished with large leafy bracts. S. ramosum with a branched inflorescence, and S. simplex with a simple spike, are both common plants.
Fig. 224. Typha latifolia. (About 1/10 nat. size.)