Typha latifolia

Great reedmace

Also known as:

Broadleaf cattail, common cattail, giant reedmace

Family: Typhaceae

Origin: Africa, Eurasia, North and South America

Great reedmace in wetland showing brown flowers.
This aquatic weed forms thick mats and can grown up to 3m tall. Ripe fruit appears as white tufts which are spread by wind.
Photo credit: Paul Champion, NIWA

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Eradication
  • National Pest Plant Accord Species

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial aquatic reed, < 3 m tall. Rhizomes form a thick mat. Leaves are wide, flat, stiff and pale grey/green. Flowers are borne in erect, sausage-shaped, dark brown/black inflorescences. Fruit is tufted and appears in early summer.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • you must not breed, distribute, release or sell great reedmace. As great reedmace is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand
  • you must not plant great reedmace within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will control great reedmace at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see great reedmace anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.


Wetlands, water bodies and margins < 1 m deep.


Seeds dispersed by wind, water and animals. Vegetative spread from rhizomes. Human-mediated dispersal through contaminated machinery.

Impact on environment

Forms dense thickets, suppressing native vegetation and altering flow regimes. Potential to directly compete or hybridise with threatened taonga species raupō.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

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

Great Reedmace in front of wire fence with buildings in background.
This can be often confused with native raupo. Dense mats can block waterways.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos, www.botanypictures.com
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