Cattail (USA), Reedmace
FR: Jonc des marais (des chaisiers)
GER: Binse, Rohrkolbenschilf, Seesimse IT: Stiancia or Mazzasorda SP: Enea, Junco BOT: Typha latifolia FAM: Typhaceae
The bulrush commonly grows at the edges of ponds or lakes in northern latitudes. Its great dub-like flower heads are well known to most people, but few realize it is edible. Young sprouts and shoots are eaten as a wild salad. The ‘mace’ when still green can be boiled for a vegetable, the pollen used to flavour pancakes, a flour made from the peeled roots, and the softer fleshy swellings from which the sprouts spring used in winter as a vegetable. The tender white inside parts of the new shoots (when they are about two feet high) make an excellent salad, either raw or cooked. This is a well-known spring food amongst the Don Cossacks in Russia. For further reading on bulrushes and other wild foods, I recommend Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus. This should not be confused with the other more grass-like plant, also known as bulrush, the club-rush (Scirpus lacustris).