Typha / Lisdodde

Lisdodden groeien in het water of langs waterkanten en kunnen soms wel 2,5 meter hoog worden. Ze hebben lange, grasachtige bladeren Vanwege de verdikking aan het uiteinde van de bloemstengels worden ze ook wel rietsigaar genoemd. De eerste aanwijzingen dat lisdodden in ons land aanwezig waren dateren uit warme perioden van het Midden-Pleistoceen. Aangenomen mag worden dat de plant ook in latere warme perioden aanwezig was. Vandaag de dag leven we ook in een relatief warme tijd, in een klimaat dat ideaal is voor de lisdodde. De plant is dan ook overal in ons land aanwezig waar geschikte plekken zijn.

De wortelstokken van de lisdodde vormen een dicht netwerk en groeien op regelmatige afstand weer uit tot nieuwe halmen. Wat eruitziet als aparte lisdodden kan dus goed één enkel individu zijn. Via de wortelstokken is de plant in staat om zich snel te vermeerderen en de waterkant te koloniseren. Hij laat dan weinig ruimte voor andere planten. Hoogstens riet is in staat om de concurrentie aan te gaan. Een jonge lisdodde kan in een jaar uitgroeien tot een pol met een doorsnede van drie meter.

Lisdodde wordt ook wel rietsigaar, lampenpoetser, kannenwasser of tuitenra(g)ger genoemd. De vele volksnamen geven aan dat de lisdodde voor allerlei zaken gebruikt werd: de lange zachte aar als schoonmaakborstel om lampenglazen en dergelijke mee schoon te maken. Het pluis werd gebruikt om kussens en dekbedden mee te vullen, het blad kon als strooisel in de stal worden gebruikt en de aar werd ook wel gedroogd als fakkel gebruikt. Allerlei delen van de plant zijn ook eetbaar: de jonge scheuten en bladeren in salades, het stuifmeel als bindmiddel en de wortels als bron van zetmeel.

De witte jonge scheuten kunnen in het voorjaar als een soort asperges gegeten worden en worden verzameld in maart en april. De scheuten smaken wat naar komkommer. Neem alleen de scheuten die zacht zijn. Ze kunnen rauw gegeten worden in salades maar je kunt ze ook bakken, wokken, koken, stoven en in soepen bereiden.

Scheuten op azijn

  • lisdodde wortelscheuten (uitlopers) oogsten

  • scheuten schoonmaken

  • Haal de buitenste schil er af

  • Snij ze in blokjes

Maak van peper, zout, azijn, suiker en gember een zoetzuur mengsel door alles bij elkaar te doen en kort te koken

Doe de lisdodde in een bokaal en giet er de warme zoetzuur overheen


Common cattail is a perennial that thrives in shallow marshes, ponds, wet ditches, and lakeshores. The familiar 'eat's tail'- the brown, velvety spike located at the tip of the main stem- bears the flowers which tum into a white, cottony fluff in the late summer and fall. The plant is harvested for its leaves in late summer, and then left to air dry (Turner and Efrat 1982:58; Turner 1998:121-123).

The seed down found in the figure's mouth was likely collected in the late summer/early fall and may have been used immediately or stored for future use.

Though the rootstock and pollen of cattail were collected for food by severalInterior Salish groups (Turner et at 1990; Parish et aL 1996; Turner 1997), the plant's leaves were most highly valued on the coast and the interior as weavingmaterial (Steedman 1930:496; Turner and Bell 1971; Pojar and MacKinnon 1994; Turner 1988, 1998; Turner et al. 1990). Indeed, among the Island Salish, cattail is considered ", .. probably the most important basket and mat weaving material" (Turner and BeIlI971:77). Baskets, bags, clothing, twine, cradles, nets, canoe sails, and mats were woven from the leaves and stems (see Teit 19OO:18S-190, for an overview of the weaving process). Woven cattail mats, for example, were used. in various ways, such as for wall insulators and temporary summer shelters (Turner et at. 1990:145; Turner 1998:122-123). Cattail weavings would also be used as clothing (cloaks, robes, hats, headdresses) and would occaSionally be combined with dog hair for added warmth (Barnett 1955; Curtis 1970; Turner and Bell 1971: 77; Turner 1988). Teit (1900:256) also notes the use of rafts made of cattail bundles among the Nicola. Based on these utilitarian uses, Turner (1988) ranks the plant

in the 'High Significance' category for the Lillooet in her Index of Cultural Significance (lCS). Elder Rosaleen George notes that cattail has the same significance to the St6:lo of the Fraser Valley as the cedar tree (pers. comm. to A. McHalsie).

Cattail down, because it was absorbent and soft, also served a variety of everyday needs. In particular, the Coast and Interior Salish used the down as stuffing for pillows, mattresses, for wound dressing, and for infant diapers (Steedman 1930:498; Pojar and MacKinnon 1994:338; Parish et al. 1996:359; Turner 1998: 123). Cattail down was also woven into mountain goat wool blankets-a point

we will return to below.


Although cattail had several mundane uses, it also served more esoteric purposes. Among the Saanich, of Vancouver Island, cattail charcoal was used for tattooing (Jenness in Turner and Bell 1971; Turner 1998:123), a practice reserved for the wealthy (Barnett 1955:74). Tattooing and face and body painting were also practiced by the Interior Salish N')akapamux (Teit 1930). The Songish, again of Vancouver Island, offered a mixture of burned cattail root with l.iJmatium sp. and red paint in First Salmon Rites (Turner and Bell 1971:77). Among theN'lakapamux, cattail leaves were incorporated into shamans' headdresses (Turner et. at 1990:145), and the stalks were used. to weave burial shrouds in the Nicola

Valley (Smith 1900:405).

There is a particularly strong association between cattail down and burial rituals of the Coast and Interior Salish. Hill-Tout (1905:137) writes that among the Stl'<iU'imx (Lower Lillooet), " [tJhe body was customarily washed all over, the haircombed and tied back, the face painted, and the head sprinkled with the down of bull-rushes [cattails], which was potent in checking the evil influences attending

corpses."~ This was done by a special funerary shaman, immune to the dangers involved in dealing with the corpse. Among the Chil liwack, a St6:16 group of the central Fraser Valley, HilJ-Tout (1978:54) noted that, "After the body of the dead person has been taken from the house the 'alia' ['the soothsayer'] would take quantities of the down of bulrushes [cattails I and spread it aU over the bed on which the deceased had lain."

The connection between cattail down and the dead is further demonstrated in the protohistoric burial of an infant found near the modern town of Yale, at the northern boundary of traditional 516:10 territory and the southern limit of N'lakapamux territory. The infant had been interred inside a copper trade pot which, together with the other copper grave offerings, led to remar~;a ble preservation conditions resulting in the preservation of soft tissues and plant fibers.

Among the plant Fibres was a downy white material which had been placed, together with red ochre, around the infant's anterior fonta nelle. Red ochre was also placed inside the infant's mouth. As elsewhere, red ochre is a sacred substa nce among the Salish, and is often found in burial contexts among the Coast and Interior Salish (Schulting 1995). The white material has been c)<:amined microscopic.111y

and is consistent with cattail down (Sch ulting 1992), although the

absence of attached seeds precludes a definite identification. ~ If the material is

indeed cattail down, this and the fluff in the mortuary figure, represent the only

known examples of ritual use of catta il down outside of ethnographic sources.

The association of the ochre and the down with the head of the infant is

significant given the spiritual importance of the head in Northwest Coast societies

(e.g., Cybulski 1978). In Northwest Coast rock a rt, for instance, the head is almost

always larger and more detailed than represen tations of the body (Lundy 1983)

and mod ification to the head, through head deformation, facial tattooing, and the

wearing of labrets were used to mark membership in social groups (Su ttles

1990b). Specifically, Barnett (1955:221- 222) notes tha t among the Coast Sa lish, the

soul was "taken to be the vita l quality of the heart or head ... " and makes

reference to a Saanich shaman re trieving a lost soul and placing it into the patient's

head. That simila r concepts prevailed among the Interior 5.:'llish is apparent

from l eit's (1900:363) comment concerning the N'lakapamux belief that the soul

was supposed to leave the body through the fron tal fontanelle. It is reasonable to

suggest, then, a scenario in which the spirit of the deceased, leaving the body

through the fon tanelle, was purified by passing through materials such as cattail

down and ochre. The placement of the red ochre in the Yale infant's mouth could

be viewed similarly, si nce this is where the breath-or life force-leaves the body,

and may provide another parallel to the placemen t of cattail down i.n the mouth

of the mortua ry figure.

The ritual importance of cattail is Further highlighted by its connection with particular places which are considered sacred. This is clearly illustrated by the Halkomelem place name Xatsllq' (Xaxa, sacred, spiritually potent; s,aqe', cattail), for a lake in the Fraser Valley (Hat.tic Lake) which supports extensive stands of cattail. The association of cattail and sacred ness in the place name may refer in general to the fact that cattail is used in 5<'lcrcd contexts. However, the fact that at least two other locations within 516:10 territory where cattails grow are dangerous and off-limits to those who arc spiritually unprepared (but arc used by Indian doctors on spirit power quests), suggests particula r patches of cattail may

be sacred (Keith Carlson, pers. camm. to O. Lepofsky, 2(00). Cattail collected from such locations may have residual spiritual power in them, and may have been the source of down which was used in mortuary and other rituals, while cattail destined for more prosaic uses could have been gathered from other, less dangerous, locations.


Typha Pfaff Database

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Pollen; Root; Seed; Stem.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Roots - raw or cooked[2, 12]. They can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The roots can also be dried and ground into a powder, this powder is rich in protein and can be mixed with wheat flour and then used for making bread, biscuits, muffins etc[55, 62, 95, 183]. One hectare of this plant can produce 8 tonnes of flour from the rootstock[85]. The plant is best harvested from late autumn to early spring since it is richest in starch at this time[9]. The root contains about 80% carbohydrate (30 - 46% starch) and 6 - 8% protein[85]. Young shoots in spring - raw or cooked[12, 55, 62, 94, 102, 183]. An asparagus substitute. They taste like cucumber[212]. The shoots can still be used when they are up to 50cm long[85]. Base of mature stem - raw or cooked[2, 9, 55]. It is best to remove the outer part of the stem[62, 183]. It is called 'Cossack asparagus'[183]. Immature flowering spike - raw, cooked or made into a soup[62, 85, 94]. It tastes like sweet corn[183]. Seed - raw or cooked[2, 257]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize, but has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted[12]. The seed can be ground into a flour and used in making cakes etc[257]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[55, 85]. Due to the small size of the seed this is probably not a very worthwhile crop[K]. Pollen - raw or cooked. The pollen can be used as a protein rich additive to flour when making bread, porridge etc[12, 55, 62, 94, 102]. It can also be eaten with the young flowers[85], which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush[9]. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested[K].

Medicinal Uses

Anticoagulant; Astringent; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Haemostatic; Miscellany; Refrigerant; Sedative; Tonic; Vulnerary.

The leaves are diuretic[218]. The leaves have been mixed with oil and used as a poultice on sores[257]. The pollen is astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, haemostatic, refrigerant, sedative, suppurative and vulnerary[218]. The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes haemostatic[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of kidney stones, haemorrhage, painful menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, post-partum pains, abscesses and cancer of the lymphatic system[222, 238]. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhoea and injuries[238]. A decoction of the stems has been used in the treatment of whooping cough[257]. The roots are diuretic, galactogogue, refrigerant and tonic[218]. The roots are pounded into a jelly-like consistency and applied as a poultice to wounds, cuts, boils, sores, carbuncles, inflammations, burns and scalds[222, 257]. The flowers are used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including abdominal pain, amenorrhoea, cystitis, dysuria, metrorrhagia and vaginitis[218]. The young flower heads are eaten as a treatment for diarrhoea[222]. The seed down has been used as a dressing on burns and scalds[257].

Other Uses

Baby care; Biomass; Fibre; Insulation; Lighting; Miscellany; Oil; Paper; Soil stabilization; Stuffing; Thatching; Tinder; Weaving.

The stems and leaves have many uses. Gathered in the autumn they make a good thatch, can be used in making paper, can be woven into mats, chairs, hats etc[94, 99, 257]. They are a good source of biomass, making an excellent addition to the compost heap or used as a source of fuel etc. The pulp of the plant can be converted into rayon[222]. The stems can be used to make rush lights. The outer stem is removed except for a small strip about 10mm wide which acts as a spine to keep the stem erect. The stem is then soaked in oil and can be lit and used like a candle[55]. The female flowers make an excellent tinder and can be lit from the spark of a flint[212]. A fibre is obtained from the blossom stem and flowers[55, 57, 99]. A fibre obtained from the leaves can be used for making paper[189] The leaves are harvested in summer, autumn or winter and are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1½ hours. They make a green or brown paper[189]. The hairs of the fruits are used for stuffing pillows etc[257]. They have good insulating and buoyancy properties and have also been used as a wound dressing and a lining for babies nappies[99]. The flowering stems can be dried and used for insulation, they also have good buoyancy properties[55, 171]. The pollen is highly inflammable, it is used in making fireworks etc[115].

Links / References

[K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956

Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).

[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.

Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.

[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.

Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.

[12]Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder.

A handy pocket guide.

[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.

A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.

[24]Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden.

Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.

[55]Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds.

Interesting reading.

[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.

Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.

[62]Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.

Very readable.

[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.

A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.

[94]Sweet. M. Common Edible and Useful Plants of the West.

Useful wild plants in Western N. America. A pocket guide.

[95]Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada.

Useful wild plants of America. A pocket guide.

[99]Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology.

Excellent and readable guide.

[102]Kavasch. B. Native Harvests.

Another guide to the wild foods of America.

[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.

Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.

[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.

Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.

[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.

Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.

[189]Bell. L. A. Plant Fibres for Papermaking.

A good practical section on how to make paper on a small scale plus details of about 75 species (quite a few of them tropical) that can be used.

[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.

Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[212]Craighead. J., Craighead. F. and Davis. R. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

Excellent little pocket guide to the area, covering 590 species and often giving details of their uses.

[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China

Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.

[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.

A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.

[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.

A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.

[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany

Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.