It is a wild, non-woody perennial herb with rhizomes that penetrate into the soil. Leaves grow upwards above the ground, from the rhizome nodes while roots grow downwards into the soil.
The rhizome nodes are filled with air and not only help the plant in respiration in the oxygen poor environment of the water, but also supports active vegetative reproduction.
The plant has long and thin stems or stalks which are green in colour and topped with spongy, brown, sausage-shaped flowering heads.
These flowering spikes don’t have any leaves and are erect, round, reaching upto a height of 2 metres. The inside is not hollow and is filled with a spongy tissue. The flowers are light brown in colour, small in size, unisexual and arranged in a thick spiral at the head of a long flower spike. The inflorescence has two parts: on the upper part the male flowers, and below them the female flowers.
There is a space between the female and the male flowers. The flowers have no petals. The female flower has a pappus at its base, which also remains on the fruit and assists in dispersing it to long distances in the wind. The fruit is dry (a nutlet).
The leaves are in linear form or straight, the margin is entire. They are erect and long, growing upto a length of 2 metres and are 1-2 cm wide. The leaves have a thickness of 4 mm which actually helps them to grow and remain erect. The body does not have any spines.
Other name:Narrow Leaf Cattail, Narrow-Leaved Reedmace, Reed-mace, Small bulrush.
IUCN red list status: least concern
Local status: least concern