Reed-mace

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Reed-mace rēd"mās` (Bot) The cat-tail.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n reed-mace The cattail; any plant of the genus Typha, chiefly T. latifolia and T. angustifolia, the great and the lesser reed-mace, the two species known in England and North America. T. latifolia is the common plant. It is a tall, straight, erect aquatic with long flag-like leaves and long dense spikes of small flowers, brown when mature. The abundant down of the ripened spikes makes a poor material for stuffing pillows, etc.; the leaves were formerly much used by coopers to prevent the joints of casks from leaking, and have been made into mats, chair-bottoms, etc. It is so named either directly from its reed-like character and the resemblance of its head to a mace (club), or (Prior, “Popular Names of British Plants”) from its being placed in the hands of Christ as a mace or scepter in pictures and in statues. Less properly called bulrush. In the United States known almost exclusively as cattail or cattail flag.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Reed-mace any plant of the genus Typha, esp. either of two species, also called Cat's tail, the most common of which grows to a height of five or six feet, and is sometimes called Bulrush
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. hreód; Dut. riet, Ger. ried.

Usage

In literature:

Our lances shivered like reeds, and we fell on with battle-axe and mace.
"Westward Ho!" by Charles Kingsley
The reed mace mushroom, T. phacorrhiza.
"Among the Mushrooms" by Ellen M. Dallas and Caroline A. Burgin
The reed-mace is like a bulrush, but three times as tall, and larger.
"Bevis" by Richard Jefferies
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In poetry:

God, my lance was a broken reed,
My mace a toy for a child's delight.
My helm is battered, my shield is shattered,
I am stiff with wounds, and I lost the fight.
"Vigils" by Aline Murray Kilmer