Cattail. Typha latifolia. Cattail Family.
Typha has a wide variety of parts that are edible to humans. The rhizomes are a pleasant, nutritious and energy-rich food source, generally harvested from late autumn to early spring. These are starchy, but also fibrous, so the starch must be scraped or sucked from the tough fibers. In addition to the rhizomes, Typha has underground, lateral stems that are quite tasty. The bases of the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, in late spring when they are young and tender. As the flower spike is developing in early summer, it can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob. In mid-summer, once the male flowers are mature , the pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener.