Plant of the Week: Graceful cattail

One of my favorite memories of Spring Cutback on the High Line occurred two seasons ago. Our team was working in the bog with our annual group of Google volunteers. As we cut back the area, the densely packed seed heads of the cattails exploded everywhere, mimicking snowfall on that sunny March afternoon. Our smiles in the photos from that day reflect the magic of the scene.

Typha laxmannii, or graceful cattail, is a wetland plant that dominates much of our bog planting. It is native to marshes and wetlands in Europe and Asia. The plants are monoecious, meaning each stalk holds both male and female flowers.

It is worth noting that some view Typha laxmannii as invasive, and it is regulated in the state of New Hampshire. If you'd like to avoid this controversy, perhaps try Typha latifolia, a North American native, but note that this species is still quite aggressive and will need constant control as well. Ironically, this plant is critically endangered in Croatia.


Typha laxmannii is perhaps best planted in a container, much like our stand in the bog. As a wetland plant, it needs to be grown in shallow water. There are no serious pest or disease issues to mention here.


The bog, between 14th and 15th Streets

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. Every week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

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