Bloomin’ Cattails

Between May and June you can take advantage of a special growth phase of cattails. It is when the cattail begins to blossom. At the tip of the center stalk you will see two distinct parts. The male portion containing pollen is produced on the top and the seed bearing portion that we often associate with hotdogs grows below. You can collect pollen from the upper portion which is edible and often used as a supplement to make pancakes and biscuits. There are a number of recipes that you can find online. Look for the most yellow blossoms as they contain the most pollen. You can bend the stalk over into a bag and shake it to collect the pollen.

When this season is over, the cattail still provides edible parts. New shoots can be pulled up to reveal a tender stalk similar to celery in taste. The roots are quite starchy and can be boiled or roasted. They are quite fibrous so some folks pound out the starch first before preparing.

Although we’re at the end of the cattail pollen season, you might still spot some stalks to harvest, so take a field trip and give it a try while they may still be found.

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2 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Cattails

  1. Cattails have hundreds of uses. Almost the whole plant is edible, or can be used for something. Even though it is past harvesting pollen when the tops get older they make great fire tinder.
    Thanks for restoking the fires of my memories, I had almost forgot about the cattails.I havent seen any in a while.

  2. i found by using as insulation one day that cattail down is a super insulator. I cannot believe it is not used commercially for this purpose.One cold day i thought i touched some poison ivy(aerial roots) while collecting cedar bark.I washed my hands in the creek and my hands were freezing so i took some cattail duff and shoved my hands in a big ol pile. Well my hands were warm in no time. It was about 20F outside.Awesome stuff.

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