Typha minima

Common name:   Family: Typhaceae
Author: Hoppe. Botanical references: 200
Known Hazards: None known
Range: Europe to W. Asia.
Habitat: Not known
Edibility Rating (1-5): 2 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 3
Epithets: From a Dictionary of Botanical Epithets
minima = smallest;
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Typhales. Cat-tail family

Physical Characteristics

Perennial growing to 0.1m. It is hardy to zone 6. 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 2/5 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

Oil; Pollen; Root; Seed.

The following notes are for other members of this genus, but they probably also apply to this species:- Roots – raw or cooked. They can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The roots 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. 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

K. 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

None known

Cultivation details

Grows in boggy pond margins or shallow water. Requires a rich soil if it is to do well. Succeeds in sun or part shade.


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.