Typha davidiana

Common name:   Family: Typhaceae
Author: (Kronf.)Hand-Mazz. Botanical references:  
Known Hazards: None known
Range: E. Asia – China.
Habitat: Not known
Edibility Rating (1-5): 4 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 3
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Typhales. Cat-tail family

Physical Characteristics

Perennial at a fast rate. . The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind. We rate it 4/5 for edibility and 3/5 for medicinal use.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Habitats and Possible Locations

Pond, Bog Garden.

Edible Uses

Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Pollen; Root; Seed; Stem.

Roots – raw or cooked. It can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The root 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, cakes, bread etc. Young shoots in spring – raw or cooked

177. 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. It tastes like sweet corn. Seed – cooked. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest, 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 cropK. 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 brush9. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvestedK.

Medicinal Uses

Anticoagulant; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Haemostatic.

The pollen is diuretic, emmenagogue, haemostatic

176. The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes haemostatic238. 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 system222, 238. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women238. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhoea and injuries238.

Other Uses

Biomass; Insulation; Miscellany; Paper; Soil stabilization; Stuffing; Thatching; Weaving.

The stems and leaves have many uses, they make a good thatch, can be used in making paper, can be woven into mats, chairs, hats etc. They are a good source of biomass, making an excellent addition to the compost heap or used as a source of fuel etc. The hairs of the fruits are used for stuffing pillows etc. They have good insulating and buoyancy properties. The pollen is highly inflammable and is used in making fireworks. This plants extensive root system makes it very good for stabilizing wet banks of rivers, lakes etc.

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Grows in boggy pond margins or shallow water to 15cm deep. Requires a rich soil if it is to do well. Succeeds in sun or part shade. Provides excellent cover for water fowl1. Plants can be very invasive, spreading freely at the roots when in a suitable site200.


Seed – surface sow in a pot and stand it in 3cm of water. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible and, as the plants develop, increase the depth of water. Plant out in summer. Division in spring. Very easy, harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 – 30cm tall, making sure there is at least some root attached, and plant them out into their permanent positions.