Typha angustifolia is a perennial C3 monocotyledon herb (Pascal-Antoine 2008), to 3 m tall, colonial from rhizomes.
Leaves long, 0.3-0.8 (1) cm wide, significantly longer than flowering spikes, strongly rounded on one side, flattened on the other (plano-convex), sheath usually with small projecting lobes at top.
Flowers minute, in a dense spike at top of stem, male flowers at top, separated from female by a 2-12 cm gap, wind pollinated, self-fertile, female flowers turning dark brown at maturity.
Fruit dry, one-seeded, female inflorescence disintegrating to wind-dispersed plumed seeds (see below).
Wetland status: OBL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent
Habitat: Marshes, soil pH 3.7-8.5; sometimes planted in restorations or mitigations. Tolerates more salinity, deeper water and higher pH than T. latifolia but is not as good a competitor.
Notes: Inflorescences attacked by Lymnaecia phragmitella, Archips obsoletana, Dicymolomia julianalis (Lepidoptera) and Ischnorrhynchus resedae (Hemiptera). The leaves are eaten by the larvae of Arsilonche albovenosa (Noctuidae) and the leaf miners Bellura obliqua and Nonagria oblonga. Calendra pertinax (Coleoptera) bores Typha stems and rhizomes. A succession of fungi infect Typha at various stages in its life cycle. It has recently been determined that T. angustifolia is an introduced species (Grace and Harrison 1986; USDA 2006).