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Content tagged with "wild edible"

Photo of several cattail plants all connected to single runner

Cattail Plants

Cattails can be used in an amazing variety of ways—by people all over the world—for food, fiber, pillow stuffing, basketry, roof thatching, and paper pulp. Researchers who study how people use plants are called ethnobotanists, and they have fascinating stories to tell.

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Photo of several cattail plants all connected to single runner

Cattail Plants

Cattails can spread quickly. Where wet soil is disturbed to bare mud, they can quickly colonize, hold soil in place, increase siltation, and impede water flow, eventually filling in the wet place. They can be nuisance plants in lakes and ponds, crowding out other plants, filling in old shallow ponds, attracting muskrats to dams, and impeding rainwater discharge on spillways.

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Photo of cattail root system showing rhizomes and new shoots

Cattail Roots And Shoots

All parts of cattails are edible and have been used as food worldwide. The nutritious, starchy rhizomes are eaten raw, cooked, or dried and ground into a flour. Roots can be made into a jelly. You can peel off the outer portion of tender young shoots and eat them like asparagus. When the flower spike is immature and still green, you can peel away the leaf sheath protecting it and cook and eat it like corn on the cob. You can shake the pollen from mature plants into a bag and use it to supplement flour in pancakes, breads, and other dishes.

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Photo of several cattail flowering stalks

Cattails

Missouri’s cattails are all tall wetland plants with narrow, upright leaves emerging from a thick base, and a central stalk bearing a brown, sausage-shaped flower spike.

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Photo of several cattail flowering stalks

Cattails

Typha spp.
Missouri’s cattails are all tall wetland plants with narrow, upright leaves emerging from a thick base, and a central stalk bearing a brown, sausage-shaped flower spike.

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Photo of a dense stand of cattail plants

Cattails

Cattails are important wetland plants that provide food, shelter, and nesting places for a variety of animals, including insects, young fish, frogs, muskrat, beaver, many bird species, and more. They also help stabilize soil.

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Photo of a chicory plant.

Chicory (Blue Sailors)

In summer and fall, the pretty blue flowers of chicory decorate roadsides and other disturbed areas. This weedy member of the aster family was introduced from Europe long ago. Its roots have been used as a coffee substitute.

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Photo of a chicory plant.

Chicory (Blue Sailors)

Cichorium intybus
In summer and fall, the pretty blue flowers of chicory decorate roadsides and other disturbed areas. This weedy member of the aster family was introduced from Europe long ago. Its roots have been used as a coffee substitute.

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Photo of a chicory flower head and buds, grasped in a hand.

Chicory (Blue Sailors) (Flowerhead)

The flowerheads of chicory emerge all along the stems with light blue or white (occasionally pink), strap-shaped ray florets that are toothed at end. It blooms May-October.

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Photo of a chicory leaf with a hand for scale.

Chicory (Blue Sailors) (Leaves)

The basal leaves of chicory resemble those of dandelion, with a prominent center vein, triangular lobes, and deep, rounded sinuses. The leaves become much smaller above the base.

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