You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

More than just a fluffy stick Cattails — also known as reed mace and corn dog grass — have many uses in nature. Their fluff provides nesting for hummingbirds, while beavers use their leaves to decorate and line their lodges. —

You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

Have you ever been walking around a lake surrounded by lots of vegetation, or near a marsh and heard the redwing blackbird’s song? They love areas like this. These are areas where we can see a lot of birds because of all the good food and building materials that grow there for them. Especially if there are bulrushes or cattails!

Cattails are called by a few different names. The one I like best is corn dog grass. It does look like a corn dog on a stick, doesn’t it?! Do you get kind of hungry when you see this plant? Well, you may be interested to know that this plant is good for people food as well as for birds and animals.

These plants grow as tall, green stalks and can get upwards to 9 feet. They produce a brown corndog shaped flower. And they usually grow in clumps in wetlands or watery, marshy places. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tells us that, “From spring to summer, cattail shoots offer a nutritious treat. One must simply peel away the outer layers of the base of the cattail to reveal a white inner core that is slightly sweet and has a refreshing taste, similar to cucumber or zucchini. While they are good raw, they are also especially tasty when sautéed with wild carrots and ginger.”

You can get a healthy dose of beta carotene, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C just from the shoot itself! But wait! There’s more! Did you know that the shoots produce a sticky type of jelly. This can be collected and used as a type of starch or thickening agent in soups and gravies, as well.

Birds love to collect the long leaves of the plant to build their nests. And they eat the fluffy seeds that emerge from the flower of the plant around the middle of the summer. The bigger birds like to nest in the plants because they offer lots of shade and protection. Larger animals also like to hide in them as well, like deer, raccoon, rabbits and turkeys.

But food and shelter are not the only benefits of this plant. The cattail stock is similar to papyrus and other sedge plants which the ancient Egyptians of the Bible used to make paper. They would cut and collect the stalks, then soak them. Then they would pound them, making a pulpy substance which they would press and dry. All this would take much time, but the end result would be a paper they could write on.

The long leaves of the cattail are also good for weaving baskets. This reminds me of baby Moses in Exodus 2:3, when God directed his mother to make a basket out of bulrushes to put him in so she could save him. The baby basket was placed among the bulrushes which also provided Moses protection, as well. You can read the exciting story in Exodus 2! Enjoy!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Learn More About This Fact

For more interesting facts, click on the buttons below!