Southern Cattail


General description

Emergent rhizomatous perennial herb < 6 m tall. Leaves are alternately arranged in two rows up the stems. Flowers are borne in erect brown cylindrical spikes usually < 2 cm in diameter. Achenes attached to hairs.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell southern cattail. As southern cattail is an Unwanted Organism, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.

Wetlands, riparian margins, estuaries, ditches.

Seeds dispersed by wind, water and attachment to animals. Vegetative spread from rhizomes. Human-mediated dispersal through movement of contaminated clothing, soil and equipment.

Can form dense infestations and displaces native species such as raupō.

Site Management

Consider engaging a pest plant control operator to control large infestations. Follow up treated areas each year.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds and rhizomes

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
For small infestations on terrestrial sites:
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant in spring and summer

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

Similar species

Typha orientalis

T. domingensis has narrower leaves and much narrower inflorescences than the native raupo.

RPMP status

Unwanted Organism
Southern cattail - Main species image