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Hunterdon County Arboretum
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Cattails (Typha latifolia)Near the end of the boardwalk on the right are cattails, another characteristic plant of fresh water marshy areas. The name comes from the shape of the plant; it looks like a cat's tail rising out of the marsh. Historically, people had many uses for cattails. The downy seeds were used for stuffing in quilts and pillows. The leaves were woven into mats and seats. The seed heads were used as torches. The young shoots were eaten like asparagus and the immature flower spikes were boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. The root was made into flour. At the Arboretum the cattails are used by animals for food and cover.

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Photographs by Valerie Lykes, Janine Ngai and Laura Kroon Bush