Typha domingensis

Southern cattail

Family: Typhaceae

Origin: Cosmopolitan

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Unwanted organism

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Emergent rhizomatous perennial herb < 6 m tall. Leaves are alternately arranged in two rows up the stems. Flowers are borne in erect brown cylindrical spikes usually < 2 cm in diameter. Achenes attached to hairs.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, you must not breed, distribute, release or sell southern cattail. As southern cattail is an Unwanted Organism, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.


Wetlands, riparian margins, estuaries, ditches.


Seeds dispersed by wind, water and attachment to animals. Vegetative spread from rhizomes. Human-mediated dispersal through movement of contaminated clothing, soil and equipment.

Impact on environment

Can form dense infestations and displaces native species such as raupō.


Site management

Consider engaging a pest plant control operator to control large infestations. Follow up treated areas each year.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds and rhizomes.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: For small infestations on terrestrial sites, foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant in spring and summer.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Southern Cattail plants with flower spike.
A perennial herb that likes to grow in aquatic environments. Has underground rhizomes that spread under the soil surface and can grow new plants.
Southern Cattail flower spikes.
Flower spikes are long and brown and cylindrical. Once pollinated seeds ripen on white fluff that comes apart on the wind and can be carried away.