cylindrical spikes of flowers




pronounced: ty-FAY-see-eye

the bulrush family

Typha is derived from the Greek word, τυφη (typhé), for a plant used for stuffing beds and bolsters, probably the reed mace, Typha angustata. Up until 2009 the family consisted only of the Typha genus, but now Sparganium is also included. They are all plants that thrive in damp and wet conditions, large perennial marsh plants with creeping rootstocks, long linear leaves, and, in the case of Typha, brownish compact cylindrical spikes of flowers. The Sparganium bear their flowers in spherical heads. The English physician and naturalist, William Turner (c.1508–1568), a friend of the great Swiss naturalist, Conrad Gessner, wrote of Sparganium that

“The roote is good to be geven wyth wyne agaynste the poyson of serpentes.”



Photograph © Donald Simpson 2013