Latin Name: Typha
Description: It is a plant which continues to grow from year to year. It is 2 m high and spreads to 50 cm across. There is an extensive network of fleshy white underground stems or rhizomes. These produce aerial shoots. The stem is erect, stout and round in cross section. The leaves are bluish-green and narrow. They can be 2 m long. The flowers are brown, in erect spikes at the ends of stalks. The flowers are green at first, then turn brown. The flower spike is 30 mm across.
Edibility Rating out of 5: 4
Medicinal Rating out of 5: 3
Edible Uses: Roots – raw or cooked. They are usually peeled before use. The roots can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. They can also be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours. Rich in protein, this flour is used to make biscuits, bread, cakes etc. The root contains a lot of fibre. One way to remove this fibre is to peel lengths of the root that are about 20 – 25cm long, place them by a fire for a short while to dry and then twist and loosen the fibres when the starch of the root can be shaken out. Young shoots in spring – raw or cooked. An asparagus substitute. Base of mature stem – raw or cooked. It is best to remove the outer part of the stem. Young flowering stem – raw, cooked or made into a soup. Tastes like sweet corn. Seed – cooked. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize, but has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Due to the small size of the seed this is probably not a very worthwhile crop. Pollen – raw or cooked. A protein rich additive to flour used in making bread, porridge etc. It can also be eaten with the young flowers, which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested. Flowering stem – cooked. Tastes like sweet corn
Warnings: None known
Medicinal Uses: Anticoagulant; Astringent; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Haemostatic; Miscellany; Tonic.
Medicinal Information: The pollen is astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, haemostatic and. The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes haemostatic. It is used internally in the treatment of kidney stones, haemorrhage, painful menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, post-partum pains, abscesses and cancer of the lymphatic system. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhoea and injuries.
Other Uses: Biomass; Fibre; Insulation; Miscellany; Paper; Soil stabilization; Stuffing; Thatching; Weaving.