• WordNet 3.6
    • n Typha reed maces; cattails
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n typha A genus of plants, type of the order Typhaceæ. It is distinguished from Sparganium, the other genus of the family, by its linear anthers, stalked ovary, and dry indehiscent fruit. There are 13 species, natives of freshwater swamps in both tropical and temperate regions. They are smooth herbs with strong creeping rootstocks from which grow erect unbranched and often tall and robust stems with a submerged base. The leaves are chiefly radical, long and linear, spongy, and at first somewhat fleshy and watery. The monœcious flowers form a cylindrical terminal spadix, the upper part of which is staminate and deciduous; both parts are partly covered in the bud by very perishable thin spathaceous bracts. The long-stalked minute fruit is produced in great abundance, over 60,000 to the average spike in the common species; each fruit contains a single seed, and is surrounded near the base by twenty to forty long slender white hairs which expand at maturity, aiding in dispersion by the wind. The plant usually reaches from 5 to 9 feet high; in California T. Domingensis sometimes reaches 18 feet, including an inflorescence of 3 feet; in the common T. latifolia the handsome dark rusty-brown fertile part of the spike is usually from 5 to 8 inches long, sometimes 14, and is much used for rustic decoration. The abundant mealy pollen is made into bread in India and New Zealand; it is infiammable, and has been used as a substitute for tinder and for matches. The powdered flowers have been used for poultices, and the farinaceous rootstocks are considered astringent and diuretic in eastern Asia. The long leaves are much used in central New York to make chair-bottoms, and are elsewhere woven into mats and baskets. Three species occur in the United States, of which T. latifolia, with four-grained pollen, and T. angustifolia, with single-grained pollen, are widely distributed throughout the northern parts of both hemispheres; the latter is in the United States more local and largely maritime, and often shows a distinct interval between the male and female divisions of the spike. The other and larger species, T. Domingensis, occurs in the West Indies, Mexico, Texas, California, and the Argentine Republic. For T. elephantina, see elephant-grass; for the others., cattail, reed-mace, and reree; and compare marshbeetle and dunche-down. They are also commonly known as flag and as bulrush.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Typha tī′fa one of two distinct reed-like plants called Bulrush.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. typhē, cat-tail.


In literature:

For shallow water Menyanthus Trifoliata (Three-leaved Buckbean) and Typha Latifolia (Broad-leaved Cat's Tail) are suitable.
"Gardening for the Million" by Alfred Pink
Typha is very common, and in some places Arundo.
"Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and TheNeighbouring Countries" by William Griffith
It was the progeny of Typha'on and Echidna.
"Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama" by E. Cobham Brewer
Here is a typha ... here an alisma; and by the overpowering perfume, this, I know, is the acacia flower.
"Woman on Her Own, False Gods & The Red Robe" by Eugène Brieux
It is a small plant resembling, in miniature, Typha, hence its generic name.
"The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise" by M. E. Hard