Did you know some plants look like Corn Dogs and Cornstalks? Funny, right? But these plants have a perfect resemblance to the sausage on a stick meal you enjoy eating in American cuisines.
Corn Dog is a fast food delicacy for those who don’t know, with a whole day dedicated to it in the United States. Don’t worry; we won’t be diving into National Corndog Day.
Here we have a list of plants that will remind you of them. We will also show you some weeds that look like Cornstalks so that you don’t baffle the next time you see them.
Let’s get down to them.
Common Cattails (Typha Latifolia) / Corn Dog Grass
Common Cattails are semi-aquatic perennial plants that love marshy or a variety of wetland areas. The plant has edible rhizomes and is commonly found growing in the Northern hemisphere.
It has a jointless stem carrying flowering spikes with leaves that are linear and alternate. The other names for Common Cattails are Bulrushes, Punks, or the Reedmace.
Cattails are monoecious; you will find the male and female flowers growing on the same plant. The male flower, which has a shade of yellow, will form at the top of the plant while the green female flowers develop underneath.
Typically the flowers show up in summer, but the male flowers will begin dropping off in fall, leaving a bare stalk tip. The female flowers hang on, changing into a brown shade, and there you have your typical sausage-shaped spike.
The sausage spike can be as long as 30 centimeters and 4 centimeters wide in larger species. Common cattails are beneficial in their natural habitats, and birds find them handy places for creating nest areas.
The dense clumps also provide cover for wildlife. They also provide a haven for fish and other aquatic animals underwater.
Humans have also found Cattail plants beneficial in making baskets, mats, and rush bottom furniture. Their seeds are used as raw materials in industries to stuff pillows and mattresses.
Growing Common Cattails
Cattails are pond-loving plants. You should be excited about growing them if you have a water garden or your yard is prone to flooding.
However, note that the plant has a fast-growing rate and can readily colonize other plants in the area. If this is going to be a problem, consider growing cattails in containers.
Cattails can grow up to 10 inches deep in water. If your garden is prone to erosion on wet slopes, Cattails can also prove handy.
They love partial shade to full sunlight; avoid areas with full shade when growing them. They have no fuss over soil types.
What you want to ensure is a high level of organic matter in your soils. You can also grow Cattails directly in water.
You should soak the seeds well in water for successful germination. Ensure your soils are wet if growing them inland.
Sow the seeds on the soil surface where it’s very wet. Cattails thrive best in the temperate regions of North America.
The young shoot of Common Cattails can withstand Winter. You can also propagate Common Cattails through rhizomes.
Propagation through rhizomes comes in handy when you intend to set up your garden area with new clusters of Common Cattails. Propagating through shoots is also workable, especially during springtime.
This is the time when the shoots are 5-10 inches long. There should be a considerable amount of roots attached to the shoots for successful propagation.
Is Common Cattails Edible?
Interestingly enough, you can consume any plant part of the Common Cattail right from the mature head, the shoot, and even the roots. You can peel the green flower head from the stem and eat them raw or cooked.
The yellow pollen is also edible when you mix it with traditional flour in biscuits and pancakes. In the case of shoots, peel them off their stems and eat the lower portion that appears white.
You can eat the roots too. Roast them in fire or boil them as you would other root tubers. Chew the starchy pulp alone and discard the rest.
Weeds that Look Like Cornstalks
These weeds typically resemble corn stalks and may trick you into believing so. We have a few to mention.
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
A bamboo-like grass and a native of South East Asia, giant reed grows to 8m tall. It has stems that look like corn stalks.
The leaves are bluish-green and sometimes appear white stripped. They are also long and take the shape of a lance.
The hollow stems from the plant are useful for making musical instruments. The plant has fluffy seeds that grow at the stem tops. Giant reeds tend to clamp, and it loves growing in warm areas.
It thrives in wet areas like ponds, moist forests, streams, and rivers. The plant also tolerates semi-saline conditions and grows well in coastal areas.
USDA zones 6 to 11 favor the growth of the plant. Giant reed produces a 2 feet silver-colored plum in summer that rises higher than its foliage.
Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense)
Johnsongrass belongs to Poaceae, a grass family and native to Northern Africa and Asia. It’s a perennial weed that grows 7 feet tall.
It reproduces through seeds and rhizomes and has spread in all continents of the world except Antarctica. Johnson Grass is pesky, and you will find it across all USDA zones.
It loves riparian areas but can also find a place to grow in orchards, vineyards, cotton fields, and vegetable gardens. Its leaves have a smooth edge with a middle vein that is white at its base.
Johnson Grass also produces flowers and proliferates once it takes root in an area. Its appearance when young is like that of a small corn seedling.
You can best identify it in your garden through its roots. Uproot the plant and check the roots. You should spot oval black seeds attached to the roots; the seeds could also be red-brown.
Quack Grass (Elytrigia repens)
Quack grass is a creeping perennial plant found in the grass family and considered a weed. You will easily identify it by its long-tapered blades that attach to a hollow stem.
Its leaves are hairy on the upper surface with a waxy down texture. The plant has a clumping habit.
It can grow up to four feet tall and produces 8 inch long spiked flowers in summer. Quack Grass has deep roots made up of rhizomes.
It’s a troublesome weed that spreads from one lawn to the other through seeds with agents such as birds and other plants. The weed also spreads through rhizomes.
It is indeed baffling to see some plants resembling human-invented food in the wild. But Mother Nature never fails to impress, doesn’t she?