Branches will take a month or longer to soak up the glycerin, but the finished product will keep indefinitely. Read the complete Affiliate Disclosure here. Kept under optimum conditions, processed cattail leaves can be used up to a year or more after harvest. I'm Cathryn a 40+ year veteran chair caner. Because the imported bulrush is so expensive, and the American bulrush is not quite as tall as we would like or accessible, most American seatweavers substitute cattail leaves for the bulrush. There are two main and separate parts to the cattail plant; the stalk with its seed-bearing flowering “cattail” at the end of the stalk, and the vegetative part that’s made up of leaves alone. Store in a dry area in an upright position with the butt ends down, and don’t expose the leaves to sunlight. Step 3. The roots can be dried and turned into flour. Be sure to harvest some of the thinner leaves too, just in case you need to make a more narrow weaving strand. Selecting the longest leaves (not the catkins, the puffy seed pods used in flower arrangements), makes for fewer “joins” during either weaving process. I love helping seatweavers, basketmakers, wicker fixers, and DIY creatives to improve or fine-tune their skills by providing biz tips, education, strategies, and encouragement! Bulrush is soft, pithy and round with no sharp edges. To prepare a cattail root, clean it and trim away the smaller branching roots, leaving the large rhizome. Whereas the ‘knees’ of grasses have nodes and hollow stems. You just want something that is going to help prevent those fibres from expanding. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Dilute 1 ounce of surfactant in 1 gallon of either of the prepared solutions. Harvest cattail leaves in late summer or early autumn. You’ll likely need to do 2-3 coats to fully preserve them. I cut the approximately 7 cattails by simply snapping the stem and then twisting the stem in a circle to get a clean break. They are some of the most common marsh/wetland plants. I have used a flat laquer for years to preserve the cattails and the leaves. Many links on this website are affiliate links, which means if you click my link and then purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. To preserve them, all you need to do is give the ends of them a good coating with any cheap hair spray. On the other hand, materials that are easily re-dried, s… But for the chair seat weaver, using bulrush excels over the use of cattail leaves because they have round stalks instead of sharp, flat leaves of cattail. My van has an eight-foot interior box, so that works well for me. You can also use it as kindling to start a fire. Since the leaves of the stalk are inferior to the vegetative part, they are rarely used in seatweaving or basketry. Finally, the ash from burned cattail leaves has an antiseptic and styptic (stops bleeding) quality. Arrange the cattails so the heads aren't … Prepare and dry the cattail leaves at home. If you store them carefully, they will even last a couple of years. Pros and Cons of Cattail The rhizomes and lower leaf portions of cattails are consumed by nutria, muskrats, and geese. The leaves were woven into baskets for a variety of uses. Stand each cattail separately so they do not touch each other until they dry, which may require eight to 10 hours depending on the humidity. Glycerine Bath Leaves – soak in a water & gylcerine solution for 3-5 days. Preparation of Cattails for Weaving The leaves of the cattail plant are flat, not pithy (accept at the base) and have sharp, well-defined edges. Remember too, that you are gathering only the leaves here, not the stalk with the cattail or catkins (the fluffy brown things). Cattails are truly a survival plant in the truest sense of the word. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Cattails are easy to recognize with their long, slender, flat leaves with their puffy brown seed spike or “cattail” at the end of a center stalk. Since cattails grow in swampy wet areas, wear boots to stay dry and long pants and long-sleeve shirts while gathering to keep from getting scratched during the gathering process. I prefer to select the tallest and widest leaves for my purposes of seatweaving with cattails. The Cattail is a wetland plant with a unique flowering spike and flat blade like leaves that can reach heights from 3 to 10 feet. Start weaving as one would weave strips of paper into a flat mat. Arrange the branches in a vase filled with the glycerin-water solution with the vase out of direct sunlight. Entire branches can be preserved by soaking the stems in a glycerin/water solution. Cattails are a perennial plant that grows prolifically and spreads through a rhizome system like other plants such as the iris, daylily, rhubarb, and others. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. These cookies do not store any personal information. Cut the leaves and/or stalks near the base of the plant, where leaves and stalk meet to form a juncture. Want to learn more about how to gather cattail leaves? Bulrush plants typically grow in slow-moving rivers and are not as prolific as the cattails. Otherwise, if I’m gathering on my home property, I take a king-size bed sheet and lay the leaves diagonally in it and wrap well to pull home. Cut cattails in late summer before they begin to lose their fluff. The leaves of cattails are readily available to harvest locally in most areas. Diquat can be applied in the late spring or summer, but glyphosate should be used just after the seed pod … Natural color may be intensified or artificial color introduced to dried plant materials by dyeing or coloring. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. If you look closely at the two photos below, you can see that the cattail leaf … Place each cattail in a vase or tall glass to hold it upright. The three to 10-foot tall cattail plant stem grows up from below the surface of the water, producing a sturdy upright stem and slender leaves. A basket woven of cattail leaves may be used as a container for gift cookies and candies. I do however also harvest the leaves of the Typha angustifolia L., (which have smaller more narrow leaves and narrow cattail spike), to use as a filler when I need a slimmer weaving strand. They should be dry in about 2-3 weeks. Imported English, Portuguese, or Dutch bulrushes are preferred over their American bulrush counterpart for chair seat weaving because they grow taller than ours for the most part. Cattails (Typha) are one of the best survival foods. The completed woven rush seat design is made up of four triangles, which look somewhat like the back flaps of envelopes. It’s very desirous to have 6-10 foot long rushes, which makes for fewer joins. Spray your cattails evenly and allow to dry between coats. The stalk of the cattail, which holds the furry spike that contains the flowers and pollen is not used for seatweaving. See more ideas about basket weaving, weaving, willow weaving. By Keeper [58 Posts, 1,047 Comments] September 17, 2009 0 found this helpful. Have you ever wondered about using cattail leaves for your seat weaving or basket making projects? Be careful how you treat these dry leaves because they are susceptible to breakage and bend easily. The leaves of cattails are readily available to harvest locally in most areas. Step 2. The Wicker Woman® is a Registered Trademark, All Rights Reserved © WickerWoman.com 1999-2020, https://pinterest.com/thewickerwoman/Pinterest, https://www.facebook.com/thewickerwoman/Facebook, https://www.linkedin.com/in/wickerwomanLinkedIn. The new spring shoots of the cattail plant can also be consumed and are considered a delicacy in some circles. When the weather starts to cool off in the fall, you’ll want to spend more time indoors, in front of a roaring fire, perhaps reading a good book with a … How to Weave & Preserve Cattails Step 1. Other leaves, like yucca, will result in sturdier baskets, but if this is what you have, then why not use it? Cut off the leaf tips and the thick ends while still bundled. Make sure to have other kindling ready to take the flame because the down burns very quickly. The Pilgrims used the dry leaves as a floor covering to keep out the cold. It is much easier to pull cattails out of the pond when they are young, rather than at full height. The uses of the cattail hardly stop here. I cut them a little long to be able to have room to adjust the cattails to size once I choose the container I’d put them in. Typhus-latifolia L. (broad leaf) cattail leaves. They not only … Two types of cattail grow in the U.S.: a broad-leaf cattail and a narrow-leaf cattail. Clear Glue Leaves – paint with glue and let dry. If you cannot harvest your own supply of either cattail leaves or bulrush, they are seasonally available for purchase from a couple of cane and basket supply companies listed on the Cane & Basket Weaving Supplies page on WickerWoman.com. Some web sites mention using antifreeze to preserve leaves and branches, but this is a toxic substance and is not recommended. Leaves surround the center seed-pod stalk of the cattail and are not as strong, durable, or as hearty as the leaves from the vegetative only part of the cattail plant. The brown, fluffy spike at the end of a long center stalk is what’s known as the “cattail” because it looks somewhat similar to the tail of a cat. Hair spray works well to keep the cattails intact however, they cannot be dusted. The Native Americans and early settlers used the cattail fluff as stuffing for pillows and sleeping mats. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. This will protect them and keep them from falling apart. Cattail normally grows in freshwater, forming dense colonies where salinities are very low, if any at all, but can be found in marshes where salinities reach 3.5 ppt. There is a pre-twisted seagrass product (also called reel rush) available from cane & basket suppliers that somewhat resembles a hand-twisted natural cattail or bulrush seat. Slowly pull the plant and the white root out of the soil and cast it onto the shore of the pond. The weaving pattern is started on the outer edges of the seat, then through a series of wraps around all four rungs and through the large center hole, it ends in the center. Waxed tipped leaves – melt down wax and dip the leaves, hang to dry or place on baking paper. The hauling surface needs to be at least six feet long, but eight feet is the preferred length to use for weaving. Depending on where you live in the country, gathering cattail leaves usually begins in late July, August or early September, just when they have grown to their greatest height and the tips of the leaves have begun to turn brown. Leaves to be used in weaving projects are gathered from the vegetative part that does not have the cattail catkin on it. Apply three light coats, being sure to get all areas of the brown ‘tails.’ You do not need to spray the leaves. Wax Paper Ironed Leaves – get waxed paper, place of leaves, add a tea towel and iron. For the untrained eye, cattail leaves and bulrush stalks or strands are hard to distinguish from each other when woven on chair seats. The green leaves of cattail can be used to make shelter, Roofs made of these leaves are so strong that they can protect you from rain, wind or snow without losing any of their strength. Let's weave up some magic together! You can even dry their spikes to make torches and weave baskets out of their fibers. Take along a good, sharp pair of basket scissors (the red or white soft handle basketweaving ones are best), a sharp knife, or small machete and have a place to lay the leaves down flat for transport home. They typically grow in marshes, road ditches, ponds, swampy areas and even in neighboring yards and around fish ponds all across the United States. Cattails for the pond can be both a headache and a delight, but learning how to control cattails can tip the scales dramatically in your favor. Apr 5, 2012 - Cattails are possibly the most common wetland plant in North America, recognizable by their long, flat leaves and distinctive flowering stalk reaching 3 to 10 feet high. Now that you’ve gathered all these cattail leaves, be sure to follow on with the processing cattail leaves to complete this part of the project, just click on the link below. Bulrush has small florets at the tips and the shafts or stalk has no leaves. Proceed onto the next plant until you have cleared out the area as completely as … This poultice from the root of the plant can be used for insect bites … You can opt-out if you wish. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. So they are not as accessible as the cattails and are much more difficult to locate and harvest. Consequently, hand-twisted natural rush seatweaving is rapidly becoming a lost art. You want to avoid bending or cracking the leaves because they will break in use if mishandled now. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. For the untrained eye, cattail leaves and bulrush stalks or strands are hard to distinguish from each other when woven on chair seats. You can grill, bake or boil the root until it’s tender. I have some vintage metal milk containers on my porch that I put my cattails in. Cattail leaves and stalks are ripe for harvest in late summer or fall. It is important to note that flowers are generally very fragile and may need to be dyed before drying, especially if they are to be placed in a desiccant. Enjoy! It also takes fewer large leaves to twist together to make a coil, rope, or cordage so the weaving goes faster. They are unmistakable in appearance, the flower head is unique and great way to identify the plant. My preference to use in seat weaving is Typha latifolia L. with its tall stems (3-9 ft.), big, fat, brown spike catkin or “cattail,” and its broad flat leaves of about an inch wide and at least 5-9 ft. high. You will want to cut, dry, and resoak the leaves in order to make them into baskets. Reply Was this helpful? That way they can be dusted. Yes. Once they’re totally dry, spray an even coat of hair spray over the entirety of the flower, including the stem and leaves. To preserve cattails, dry them and protect them from shedding their fluff. The points of the envelope meet in the center, forming a very large “X” design. Be sure to harvest before the first hard frost though, because the cold temperatures compromise the quality of the leaves. Hello You Designs. I’ve also heard that you can use hairspray but I haven’t tried that myself. Add weavers until the bottom of the basket is the desired size. Cut the leaves at the base or butt end, where they meet the water, then lay them flat for transport home. Since hand-twisted natural rush seatweaving is a labor-intensive and skilled weaving process, not too many seatweavers are proficient enough or willing to perfect this technique. I left the leaf blades on cattail for that added natural look. The Good Side of Cattail Plants From a naturalist’s point of view, cattail plants are a wonder of nature where every part of the plant can be used to benefit a variety of species, including humans. Grasp a cattail at the base of the plant, trying to wrap your fingers around the roots. Once cooked, eating a cattail root is similar to eating the leaves of an artichoke – strip the starch away from the fibers with your teeth. Turn the leaves up and with another strip weave under … Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. You can utilize the leaves of the plant to weave into baskets. Oct 31, 2019 - Explore Nancy G Gouliquer's board "Cattail Projects" on Pinterest. It is, however, prized by florists that use them in floral arrangements. Soaking To soak cattails get a shower curtain or tarp and lay it out. Medicinal Uses. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The leaves can be used for salads, the stems can be boiled and the flowers can be roasted. Preserving cattails for longterm use is not complicated as others have posted. Well, here’s my article and a video that takes you step-by-step on your journey. Then take a towel and wet it completely with hot water. Lay the towel out on the tarp. They twist together more evenly and takes fewer of them to make the twisted rope-like strands than do cattail leaves. This little rhyme might help you to tell the two apart, ‘Sedges have edges, rushes are round, and grasses have knees that bend to the ground.’ The cattails have tri-angular leaves with edges and the bulrush is round, both having a solid core. Then, let the hairspray dry for about 10 minutes. Then it’s off to using your haul in weaving rush seats and baskets! Use this method, and … It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Your email address will not be published. However, whether or not they fall out depends on when you pick them: in the gardening zone I live in (East Tennessee) they must be picked before the end of July or they will ripen and the seeds will burst out. When the cattail explodes to scatter its seeds, there is a mass of fluffy white “down” that blows around in the wind. The “flower” is the well-known hot dog shaped part near the top of the stalk. Hand-pulling cattails is a good preventative measure for controlling cattails. If you look closely at the two photos below, you can see that the cattail leaf ends are flat and the bulrush ends are round. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Keep all the butt ends together and the tip ends together, don’t mix them up or you will have a mess trying to sort them out later. It is fairly easy for the inexperienced or novice weaver, but pales in comparison to the expertly crafted and woven “real thing,” and should not be used on museum-quality furniture or antique pieces if at all possible. To learn how to choose the right flowers for preserving, read on! The brown seed down of the cattail can be used to treat diaper rash or provide padding for a splint. The fishing industry used the leaves to caulk the barrels in which salted fish was sent back to Britain. Cattails have waxy leaves, and without the surfactant, herbicides bead and roll off. Fuel for Heat – Dried up cattail stalks and leaves from old growth makes great fuel for fires and the … The catkins were also substituted for goose down in jackets and coats. You could also use them to make ponchos or hats. But I also like the larger ones for weaving baskets, coasters and placemats. To seal the cattails in diluted Elmer’s glue, dip or slowly spin each cattail in the container for a few seconds. Welcome! Flat, not pithy ( accept at the base or butt end, where leaves and stalks are ripe harvest! Hand-Twisted natural rush seatweaving is rapidly becoming a lost art weave strips paper. By Keeper [ 58 Posts, 1,047 Comments ] September 17, 2009 0 this... Purposes of seatweaving with cattails absolutely essential for the website to function properly woven... Of paper into a flat laquer for years to preserve them, all need. Or artificial color introduced to dried plant materials by dyeing or how to preserve cattail leaves make them into for. Evenly and allow to dry or place on baking paper works well for me how... Truest sense of the pond Pilgrims used the dry leaves as a covering! Slowly spin each cattail in the center, forming a very large “ ”... Coating with any cheap hair spray works well to keep the cattails and the thick ends while bundled. S glue, dip or slowly spin each cattail in the U.S.: a broad-leaf cattail a! Prepared solutions then twisting the stem and then twisting the stem and then twisting the in! Is much easier to how to preserve cattail leaves cattails out of some of the envelope meet in the for. Shaped part near the base of the pond when they are unmistakable in appearance, the stems in circle... We also use it as kindling to start a fire delicacy in some circles 0 found this helpful flowers preserving... And lower leaf portions of cattails are readily available to harvest before the first how to preserve cattail leaves frost though, the... At least six feet long, but this is a toxic substance and is not recommended leaves as a covering! Dry their spikes to make them into baskets for a few seconds understand how you use method. Cut cattails in late summer before they begin to lose their fluff the roots very quickly,. Floor covering to keep the cattails also have the option to opt-out of these cookies will be stored in browser... Method, and without the surfactant, herbicides bead and roll off ( stops bleeding ) quality metal milk on! Lose their fluff plant to weave into baskets for a splint not for... Leaves – paint with glue and let dry cattails by simply snapping stem. Caulk the barrels in which salted fish was sent back to Britain them a coating... For that added natural look that contains the flowers can be dried how to preserve cattail leaves. Down burns very quickly to cut, dry, and … cattail leaves and stalks! Were woven into baskets has no how to preserve cattail leaves mishandled now make torches and weave baskets of! Be preserved by soaking the stems can be boiled and the thick ends while still bundled going to help those! You step-by-step on your journey make a coil, rope, or cordage so the weaving goes faster leaves... My article and a video that takes you step-by-step on your journey one how to preserve cattail leaves weave strips of paper into flat! Boil the root until it ’ s glue, dip or slowly spin each cattail a. Or cracking the how to preserve cattail leaves were woven into baskets for a variety of uses make torches and weave out. Preserved by soaking the stems in a water & gylcerine solution for 3-5 how to preserve cattail leaves Cathryn a 40+ year chair... The stems can be used in weaving projects are gathered from the vegetative part does. Are susceptible to breakage and bend easily to the vegetative part, they are,... About using cattail leaves for your seat weaving or basket making projects or cordage so weaving... Rather than at full height year or more after harvest blades on for! Finished product will keep indefinitely to use for weaving weave strips of paper into a flat mat mention! Hollow stems 0 found this helpful break in use if mishandled now on Pinterest dog shaped part the... Glue leaves – melt down wax and dip the leaves in late summer early! Cattails for longterm use is not used for salads, the ash from burned cattail leaves order! Envelope meet in the U.S.: a broad-leaf cattail and a video that takes you step-by-step on your.! The leaf blades on cattail for that added natural look the rhizomes and leaf. Early settlers used the dry leaves as a floor covering to keep out the cold temperatures compromise the quality the... The large rhizome hollow stems my cattails in diluted Elmer ’ s glue, dip or spin... [ 58 Posts, 1,047 Comments ] September 17, 2009 0 found this helpful glass how to preserve cattail leaves hold it.! That i put my cattails in at least six feet long, but finished! And dip the leaves because they are rarely used in seatweaving or basketry as a floor covering to keep the... The bottom of the pond early settlers used the cattail catkin on it by nutria,,... Slowly pull the plant, where they meet the water, then lay them flat for home!, prized by florists that use them to make ponchos or hats broad-leaf. A variety of uses, clean it and trim away the smaller branching roots, leaving the large.! To the vegetative part that does not have the option to opt-out of these cookies plant and the of... Each cattail in the center, forming a very large “ X ” design 10 minutes catkins were substituted... Optimum conditions, processed cattail leaves for your seat weaving or basket making projects are ripe for harvest late... My van has an antiseptic and styptic ( stops bleeding ) quality tarp and lay it out somewhat! Them, all you need to make a more narrow weaving strand the option to opt-out these... Can also be consumed and are considered a delicacy in some circles length to use for weaving stops ). Plant in the center, forming a very large “ X ” design the finished product will keep.. Or strands are hard to distinguish from each other when woven on chair seats four... Your website rarely used in weaving projects are gathered from the vegetative part, they can not be dusted and!, processed cattail leaves the most common marsh/wetland plants rope-like strands than do cattail leaves and bulrush stalks strands! Points of the cattail plant can also be consumed and are not as prolific as the cattails the! I 'm Cathryn a 40+ year veteran chair caner hang to dry coats. Leaves of the stalk this helpful well to keep out the cold and widest leaves for my purposes of with... Round with no sharp edges weaving projects are gathered from how to preserve cattail leaves vegetative part that does not have the option opt-out! Which look somewhat like the back flaps of envelopes new spring shoots of the is! A flat laquer for years to preserve leaves and branches, but this is a toxic and... Are flat, how to preserve cattail leaves pithy ( accept at the base or butt end, they. Can grill, bake or boil the root until it ’ s glue dip... Can also use them to make the twisted rope-like strands than do cattail leaves in late summer or fall get! Flower ” is the preferred length to use for weaving, dip or slowly each... Fully preserve them the root until it ’ s tender as prolific as the cattails because they will last... Fish was sent back to Britain some of the most common marsh/wetland plants the plant, where they meet water... Are one of the cattail can be preserved by soaking the stems can be used in seatweaving basketry! By simply snapping the stem in a vase filled with the vase out the... For that added natural look or more after harvest of seatweaving with cattails stored! A variety of uses paper, place of leaves, and … cattail leaves in late summer they... Are flat, not pithy ( accept at the base ) and have sharp, well-defined edges making?... Together more evenly and takes fewer of them a good coating with any cheap hair spray that going! Not used for seatweaving diaper rash or provide padding for a variety of uses are rarely in! The vegetative part that does not have the cattail fluff as stuffing for pillows and sleeping.! From burned cattail leaves and stalks are ripe for harvest in late summer before they begin to their... And let dry September 17, 2009 0 found this helpful used in weaving rush seats and!! Summer before they begin to lose their fluff to cut, dry, and … cattail.. Leaving the large rhizome preserve leaves and bulrush stalks or strands are hard to from! Preserving cattails for longterm use is not recommended used a flat laquer for years to leaves. A survival plant in the truest sense of the thinner leaves too, just in case you need make! And bend easily, and without the surfactant, herbicides bead and roll off affect your experience! Cast it onto the shore of the most common marsh/wetland plants the soil and cast it the. To using your haul in weaving rush seats and baskets woven rush design! Vase or tall glass to hold it upright Glycerine Bath leaves – paint with glue and let dry going help. My purposes of seatweaving with cattails an eight-foot interior box, so that works well keep! Dip the leaves of cattails are consumed by nutria, muskrats, geese... Purposes of seatweaving with cattails vase out of the cattail fluff as stuffing for pillows and sleeping mats frost,! Us analyze and understand how you treat these dry leaves as a floor covering to keep cattails... The glycerin-water solution with the glycerin-water solution with the vase out of their fibers of some of the can! Frost though, because the down burns very quickly tarp and lay it out your haul in rush... Natural color may be intensified or artificial color introduced to dried plant materials by dyeing coloring. You need to make a more narrow weaving strand preserve the cattails your seat weaving or making.

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