Monday, February 13, 2012

A Cattail's Story: BEDDING, NESTING & BEYOND

Photos by Jonathan Schechter


Cattails are a signature species of marshlands in Michigan. 
Every child and most adults with a love of nature know the cattail seed head turn brown in
 autumn and persist into winter.  On a hike a few days ago I noticed that some stalks  at a nearby
 marsh were torn apart from the middle. A bit of observation and detective work as light solved
 the mystery. Mice tracks were  near the base leading me to the conclusion that these
tiny rodents were scurrying up the stalks to  gather bedding material. If I was  a mouse I too would
 love to sleep in a bed of warm dry fluff! And just as I made that conclusion a chickadee alighted on
 a stalk and snatched a hunk of  fluff as well. Perhaps the unseasonably warm weather of the past
few weeks made the chickadee think that cattail was her nest building supply store while the
 mouse looked to the cattails as a bedding store.  But for me,cattails remain one of my favorite
 wild edibles and come next spring I will feast on this plant loved by man and beast.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What part of a cattail can humans eat?

February 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM 
Blogger Sandman said...

I had read where the fluff used to be made into cakes by the Indians and I thought I'd try that but never did.

February 15, 2012 at 6:47 AM 

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