Our Cattail Study: Autumn Series Challenge #1

We went on a search for cattails and we found that we have two different areas of cattails within walking distance of our house. We decided that we could cut one cattail to bring home to closely observe. I was surprised at how “into” finding the cattails the boys became once we got started.

Another place that we found cattails was along the walking trail we frequent every week. These were much taller than the others and I think this will be the spot we observe over the next year.

There was a little water in the ditch where we found our cattails but not much. It was more like a muddy puddle than anything else.

Here is a close-up of the flower spike and right now it feels like velvet. The boys were surprised at how soft and fuzzy it was to the touch. We talked about what we learned from our pre-study and how the cattail is edible. We all decided that we would like to try eating it someday……something to plan for the future.

My sons were content to complete the notebook page with photos but I was inspired as so many others are by the simple beauty of this plant that we so often don’t take the time to appreciate. I pulled out my watercolors and made a quick painting for my nature journal. I found a tutorial in a watercolor book that I have on the shelf that showed how to add stippling with a pen once the paints are dry. I love the way it adds a little detail to the cattail.

This was a perfect way to start off our Autumn Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges.


  1. You know, it might be too late in the season to eat the cattail part. Might be too fuzzy. But you can eat the roots like any tuberous root, like potato. I want to try eating the cattail part too … supposed to be like eating corn. You go first! lol

  2. Hi Shannon,

    We are talking next year in the spring…I think that is when we read you are supposed to eat them.


    I will add a reference to my blog entry for others to read as well.

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  3. Hi Barb, we’re so inspired by your challenge. We’ve been out taking pictures to put up, but in the mean time I just wanted to say hi and thanks. Oh, we tried the stippling today and wow what a difference it made.

  4. Hi Suzanne,

    I have been busy experimenting with more stippling since doing the cattails. I think I have a new favorite style. :)

    Watercolor + stippling for detail….love it.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. wow, what pretty cattails you found! I thought for sure we’d find some, but we didn’t. But we sure had lots of fun hunting for them !

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