What is made from cattail

You’ve probably heard the word “matting”. But what it is, not everyone knows for sure. Once upon a time, this was the name of a coarse fabric used on the farm. For its manufacture, the fibers of the cattail plant were used (hence the name). Later they began to use bast or bast.

What is Madam for?

Why was matting needed? They made coolies, bags, work clothes from it. Our peasant ancestors, unfortunately, did not have hardware stores with a large assortment of goods, and fairs where you could buy these very goods did not happen very often. Yes, and funds for purchases were not always available … Therefore, they coped on their own.

First, linden bast was harvested. It was soaked in water for a month, after which they began to make matting. Everything was done by hand, without any additional devices. There was a saying: “The matting is great, but it is worthless to wear it.” Indeed, these things were suitable exclusively for economic needs.

Mat masters wove their products from any material at hand. So, it was very convenient to wear a wide hat in peasant life – bryl. They made bryli from a burdock leaf, a bunch of grass, from straw, birch bark ..

Rogoz for all occasions

But the most popular material for weaving was still cattail. Various seasonings were prepared from its rhizomes, flour was mined, roasted cattail roots could even replace coffee … Rogoz covered the roofs of huts, carts, huts … They could not do without cattail and the hostess. Dwellings were whitewashed with a “matting” brush, and “horsetail” – a bundle of cattail – was used to wash wooden floors.

Fishing mats, beehives, mats were woven from cattail. The latter were called “mats”. At fairs, sellers of matting in every possible way praised their product, its reliability. But the buyers only grinned: “The matting is wide and its price is worthless” and tried in every possible way to bring down the cost of products …

Cattails were harvested for weaving from July to October. They cut it with sickle-shaped cutters – “terpans” or shortened braids. The leaves were laid out on a platform to dry, which could last up to three weeks. The scaffold was sometimes arranged from the stalks of cattail, which grew near the shore (the harvesters tilted and tied the tops of the plants). Sheaves of dried cattail were stored in dry, well-ventilated areas (for example, in attics). Under such conditions, they could be stored for several years.

Before weaving, the peeled and sorted stems and leaves were placed in cold water for twenty minutes. In the process of weaving, they were still moistened with a swab or sponge.

The cattail leaves were braided into braids of various sizes, which were then sewn together with waxed thread. This is how the products were made.

Revival of traditions

There were various ways of weaving. And today some of them are mastered anew by modern masters.

So, the fishing and cooperative artel “Rogozha” was recreated in the small town of Dmitrovsky Pogost, Shatursky district of the Moscow region. Previously, this place was known for weaving baskets, but now the range has expanded significantly. Mats, rugs, coasters, hats, slippers, bags, baskets may not be in high demand, but still those who want to buy them are regularly found.

However, in the central regions of Russia, they weave more from willow or wicker. Baskets, flowerpots, lampshades, sockets, crackers, candy bowls – the range is also considerable. In the famine years, this craft helped many to survive, to raise children and bring them out into the world. Willow products are still in demand and are sold at an affordable price.

Usually raw materials are harvested in spring or autumn. There is a homemade tool for cleaning rods from bark. It is a split wooden device into which the rods are inserted. True, before that they have to be boiled for an hour and a half in a bath boiler. After removing the bark, the rods are dried and aired in a special way so that there are no stains and mold left.

Weaving traditions are gradually being revived, more and more handicraft enterprises appear. In addition to souvenirs, they make, for example, rocking chairs, tables, baby cradles, baskets for mushrooms and vegetables, laundry boxes, vases, trays … The traditional weaving technique combined with various materials (fabric, birch bark, wood and its derivatives, leather, fur, linen, cattail leaves, branches, cones, plants) allows you to get real works of arts and crafts that can compete with machine-made and factory-made items. Even an extensive group of ecological goods for keeping pets is produced from the vine: all kinds of baskets, carriers, sunbeds, houses, sleeping places. As experience shows, products from the vine are often and successfully used for packaging and decoration of gifts, in floristry,

May 19, 2016, 7:00 am
Broad-leaved cattail ( Typha latifolia ) Botanical illustration from K. A. M. Lindman’s book Bilder ur Nordens Flora , 1917-1926
scientific classification
See also:   Agrofirma Biotehnika seed catalog
Domain: eukaryotes
Kingdom: Plants
Sub-kingdom: green plants
The Department: Flowering
Class: Monocots [1]
Superorder : Lilianae
Order: Cereals
Family: cattails
Genus: cattail

International scientific name

Cattail (lat. Týpha) is a genus of plants in the family Rogozovye ( Typhaceae ) [3] .

Cattails are tall marsh grasses of the temperate and tropical zones of the Earth. The leaves are two-row, long, ribbon-like, entire, without a tongue in the area of ​​the sheath-lamellar articulation. The stem ends with a cob-shaped inflorescence, the upper part of which is formed by brown male flowers (stamens), and the lower, thicker, brown – female (pistils).

In the European part of Russia, according to 2015 data [4], nineteen species of cattail are found.


Title [edit | edit code]

According to Vasmer, the Russian name of the plant comes from the root horn [5] .

Dahl also noted other Russian names for this plant: ragoz , ragoz , cattail [6] .

Cattail is confused with bulrush, although Bulrush ( Scirpus ) is a completely different plant from the sedge family ( Cyperaceae ).

Species [edit | edit code]

List of species [edit | edit code]

The genus according to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, includes 30 primary and 7 hybridogenic species [7]:

cattail angustifolia [ edit | edit code]

Herbaceous perennial up to 2 m tall with a thick horizontal branched rhizome. Leaves linear, up to 1 cm wide. Flowers are unisexual on the cob. Male and female cobs on the same shoot, female – blackish-brown or almost black, 2-8 cm away from the male. The male flower has three stamens, the female flower has one pistil with a lanceolate stigma sitting on a stem. In female cobs, in addition to normal, fertile female flowers, there are modified female flowers – carpodia. The perianth of both male and female flowers is represented by hairs. With fruits (nuts), the perianth hairs remain and grow. Blooms in mid-summer.

Cattail broad-leaved [ edit | edit code]

It is widely distributed and forms large thickets, especially in Central Russia, it is distinguished by wider (up to 2 cm) leaves and male and female cobs almost touching each other.

Distribution and habitat [edit | edit code]

Cattails are widespread in the southern half of Eurasia and North America.

Cattail species grow along the banks of reservoirs, in shallow waters, in grassy swamps, as well as in a variety of secondary damp and wet places: ditches, ditches, abandoned quarries, along roadsides. They prefer acidic, swampy, but rather rich, sometimes saline soils and well-lit habitats. Usually, due to vegetative propagation, it forms extensive, but self-thinning thickets, the largest number of generative shoots develops at a reservoir depth of 60–90 cm. The plant is quite resistant to water level fluctuations.

Economic importance and application [ edit | edit code]

Food use [edit | edit code]

The rhizomes of both species contain about 15% starch and 2% protein. In the Caucasus, they are made into flour or eaten baked. Young flower-bearing shoots are boiled, they taste like asparagus. They can be marinated in vinegar and eaten as a salad. Nutritional value ranges from 72 to 87 kcal. one hundred grams. [ source not specified 283 days ]

A coffee surrogate is prepared from dried and crushed cattail roots.

Flour from cattail began to be made already 30 thousand years ago, much earlier than from grain crops. The yield of cattail is up to 80 centners per hectare.

Medicinal use [edit | edit code]

Rhizomes, leaves, flowers, cobs of cattails are used as a medicine.

Flowers and cobs are used as a hemostatic agent for gastric, intestinal, hemorrhoidal bleeding, cystitis, urethritis, and in gynecological practice. Bleeding wounds are sprinkled with dry powder of inflorescences, and cob fluff mixed with ghee is used to treat burns and frostbite. A decoction of rhizomes and an infusion of leaves are used as an astringent, anti-inflammatory agent for enterocolitis, dysentery, cystitis, leaf infusions – for diabetes mellitus, a decoction of cobs – for bronchial asthma.

Terms and methods of procurement

Rhizomes of cattails are harvested in the fall, at the end of the growing season. Young seedlings of flowering stems are harvested in May, leaves and flowers – in June. Cobs are harvested before the first frost.

Economic use [ edit | edit code]

Plants can be used to make paper (albeit of poor quality). Leaves are used for weaving baskets, mats, ropes, mats; stems – as a building material. The fiber of the leaves can also be used for the manufacture of coarse packing fabrics, the pericolor bristles – for the production of cellulose, as a heat-insulating material, as well as for stuffing life belts and jackets, since they are highly buoyant. Canes are made from stems with female cobs [ source not specified 744 days ] .

Cattail is used for weaving shopping bags, baskets, mats, rugs, as well as for decorative finishing of wicker products from a vine. Leaves are used for weaving; to get a green color, cattail is cut in July, beautiful yellow – in late August – early September. The plant is cut at a distance of 10-15 cm from the surface of the water. To preserve the color and elasticity of the leaves are dried in the shade.

Perianth hairs, which form fluff when the fruit ripens, can be used for stuffing pillows, water purification [ source not specified 1985 days ]. Cattail fluff is used in artistic ceramics. Added to clay or chamotte, it makes these materials lighter and more non-shrinking. Can be used as fuel.



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Wednesday, October 26, 2011 4:29 pm + to quote pad

As you know, cattail loves dampness, it grows along the banks of rivers and lakes, in swamps, water meadows, wet peat bogs, abandoned quarries, damp ditches and ravines. Is any cattail suitable for weaving, how to prepare it?

No matter how much I searched for information about the harvesting of cattail on the Internet and literature, I could not put together a whole picture. It was for this reason that I had an irresistible desire to receive a master class from a real craftsman.

Now I am comparing what Vasily Nikolaevich told me with what various authors write, and I see a complete discrepancy. For example, in the book “Weaving from straw from grandfather Vasily” ( http://www.e-reading.org.ua/bookreader.php/140113/Sergeev_-_Pletenie_iz_solomki_-_ot_deda_Vasiliya.html ) I read: “Before drying cattail , it needs to be overshot – to separate the leaves from the stems. The basal yellowish-cream areas of the cattail shoots are soft and not suitable for weaving.

And Vasily Nikolayevich taught me the opposite: it is not necessary to peel the cattail either before drying or during storage, and it is the basal part that is suitable for weaving.

I will not go into an analysis of inconsistencies, but simply tell me about what Vasily Nikolaevich taught me, whom, without detracting from respect, I call grandfather with great love. So, the secrets from the real master of horn weaving, Honored Master of Folk Art of Ukraine Kaznovetsky Vasily Nikolaevich , first hand.


Cattail is broad-leaved and narrow-leaved: in the first, a lilac or grayish tint is added to the olive-green color of the leaves , in the second – rather yellowish. You can weave from both. In narrow-leaved, the useful part is shorter, but when weaving, any cattail can be used and even mixed, since there are no more significant differences.

For weaving, that part of the bottom of the leaf is suitable, which covers all the other intra-seated leaves. This part of the sheet has thinning along the edges (see the figure), everything above this place becomes brittle after drying, and therefore is not used.

Cattail leaves are harvested starting in the second half of August and continue until the end of September. October depends on the weather, the cattail may begin to dry out, but you still need to have time to dry it before frost.You can harvest cattail from a boat or in wading boots. The main thing is that it grows in water. It was in this that the main secret of the unsuitability for weaving of the cattail that I had prepared before turned out to be.

I cut it in a water meadow, where the water stands only in the spring and dries up by the middle of summer. Cattail there grows densely and rather high, but when weaving it is hard and brittle, no soaking helps to soften it. Now I’m exploring the surrounding area in search of thickets growing right in the water, and the longer the underwater part, the better.

They harvest only those plants that do not have the so-called “eskimo”, grandpa says that those with cobs are not suitable.

I searched on the Internet for which plants without cobs are male or female. And here’s what I found out.

It turns out that cattail is a monoecious plant. The inflorescence consists of a female (lower) and a male (upper) ear, usually located on the same shoot, the gap between them is different, and sometimes they are in contact with each other,so the inflorescences are sometimes considered as one ear, divided into male and female parts. http://fitobaco.ru/informatsiya/sotsvetie-rogoza-2.html

Thus, I come to the conclusion that the cattail that has not bloomed at all is suitable. Apparently young.

They reap with a sickle, which instead of a handle has a long stalk like a shovel, which allows you to cut the plant as close to the root as possible, even at a decent depth.


The cattail is dried without splitting into leaves, standing in sheaves. The question does not arise in the sun or in the shade, since Grandpa’s entire yard is lined with them, and even outside the gates along the street everything is lined up. Thus, some sheaves are in the sun, and some are in the shade. So, it doesn’t matter.When the cattail dries, and this is after 2-3 weeks, cut off the excess length (as a rule, this is the entire green part) and store it right on the street. I tried to store it in the apartment (I brought a bunch for current crafts), it dried up a lot in a week. So it’s better outside.

Lay horizontally on a wooden pallet. Under this necessarily under a canopy in case of rain.

The photo to the right of the sheaf shows how this is done. Two vertical sticks – that’s the whole simple design for winter storage.


See also:   When to plant grape seedlings in spring

Splitting into leaves is not done in advance, only immediately before weaving and in the amount necessary for work at the moment.If the material crunches in the hands when squeezed with fingers, then the grandfather sprinkles it with water from a spray bottle and leaves it for a while.

He does not do soaking in water with immersion, and there was no need for this.

The leaf is cut with a knife lengthwise, usually in half. For small items, or if the sheet is very wide, then into three parts.

It practically does not weave with a whole sheet, except perhaps if it decides to make some place thicker or stronger.

But in the manufacture of handles for baskets and bottles, just whole leaves are used.


What impressed me most about this process was Grandpa’s desire to make the weaving process as comfortable as possible.I started weaving at any product and the fields at the hat, I always performed on the table, which means standing, and even bowed, I’m not talking about occupying the entire table.

Grandpa does everything while sitting, putting a chair with a hard seat in front of him. Rigidity is needed in order to ensure pressing while the product is not dressed on the form.

Everything is woven according to the form, and no skill matters.

The bottle or jug ​​itself serves as a form when they are braided.

For weaving a hat, a pan is used, matched to size.

For weaving bast shoes, wooden blocks are used, which are cut to fit different leg sizes.

For weaving baskets from boards, forms of different sizes are knocked together.

The use of forms for weaving is due to the need to tighten the weave, which achieves density and uniformity.

I’ll tell you the basic principle using the example of a basket. First, on a solid support, we weave the bottom with a “string”, with each row of a separate reed, and leave their ends, they will be the basis for weaving the side walls of the product. Then we dress the bottom on the form.

We press it with a board of the size corresponding to the bottom, which we either tie or nail. Now you can lower all the ends and continue to weave in shape.

This principle is always used. When weaving bast shoes, the board is nailed to the sole of the shoe; when braiding bottles, caps of the appropriate size are used instead of boards, which are tied to the bottle.

Without a form, only flat things are woven, the bottom of any product or, for example, the brim of a hat. In this case, the role of the form is played by the table itself or another plane on which weaving is performed.

Grandpa adapted a board for weaving the brim of hats, which he puts on his knees, and rests on the table with the upper edge. Thus, the work is done while sitting and with a flat back. How grateful I am to him for such ergonomic solutions.

If during the work the cattail begins to dry out, and this becomes clear from the characteristic crunching when the sheet is squeezed, then it should be wetted.

For these purposes, grandpa uses a spray bottle, and after spraying, leaves it for a few minutes so that the cattail absorbs water and softens. With the same procedure, he begins to weave the work left earlier, but not completed.

And in his work, grandpa uses the so-called puff in the form of a wire with a curved loop. True, before that we ourselves thought of it and even went further.

I have been using this puff with a handle for a long time, which my husband built for me, seeing how I suffer, if necessary, to thread or fill the reeds.

Grandpa varnishes finished products. He says that lacquered ones are more willing to buy. Although I personally like it better in its natural form.

And only one secret grandfather did not reveal to me. This is the painting of cattail. And not because I didn’t want to.

He painted with powders, which he now ran out of. He always bought them at the market, but now no one sells them and there is simply nowhere to buy them.

I think that the powders that grandfather was talking about are aniline dye, which is used to dye fabric. It is not produced in Ukraine now, but I already found a place where they promised to bring me.

So I’ll send it to my grandfather, I’ll make him happy.


That’s all the secrets from Vasily Nikolaevich Kaznovetsky. In the theoretical part, everything is now clear, it remains only until August to find a place where you can harvest the “correct” cattail.

In the meantime, I have a bunch of dried cattails that my grandfather gave me as a parting gift. Now this is a very precious material for me, each sheet is registered, each is worth its weight in gold.

During the master class, we shot a lot of videos so as not to miss anything important and not to forget. One video I wanted to insert into the post to amuse you. There, my grandfather put a stake for my bast shoes. But something didn’t work out in the post, so if you are interested, watch the video in the first comment .

Headings: Weave/Mattail

Tags: cattail weaving cattail weaving Kaznovetsky Honored Master of Folk Art

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