TyphaTypha Latifolia, known as Cattail or Bullrush, grows naturally all over the world, and is often found at the edges of lakes and rivers. Its distinctive sausage shaped flowers (pictured above) is a common site in wetlands. Their potential as a crop is being explored by a range of organisations.
There are a huge range of potential uses for Typha, from use in building and making woven rush materials, to use in constructed wetlands to absorb pollutants and purify water. These wetlands are sometimes known as green filters, and are used as a cheap way to clean sewage water.
It is even possible to eat them - although because of their capacity to absorb pollutants from water this should only be done with cattail harvested from very clean water bodies.
The Griesfwald Mire Centre, in collaboration with a company called Wetland Products, has trialled the creation of various products from Typha, including insulation materials for buildings. This has been found to be an effective material, with fungal resistant and fire resistant properties.
The video below gives a short introduction to the growing of Typha in Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Germany, and using it to manufacture wall insulation.
Video Credit: Susanne Brahms
More information on the work done on Typha in Germany can be found here
Building on the learning from this project, the CANAPE partners in Denmark and the UK have trialled typha as a crop to demonstrate the potential of typha to farmers. In Store Vildmose We have created 3 0.75ha Typha fields, with construction beginning in the autumn of 2019. This work is being supported by a stakeholder group in the region, and marks a potential new beginning for farming in the area. For more information, please see here.
As an expansion of the project in 2021, developed a site at the Horsey estate in the Northern Broads, which also included Typha polders.