Young shoots in spring - raw or cooked. An asparagus substitute. Base of mature stem - raw or cooked. It is best to remove the outer part of the stem. Young flowering stem - raw, cooked or made into a soup. It tastes like sweet corn. Seed - cooked. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest, but has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Due to the small size of the seed this is probably not a very worthwhile crop[K].Pollen - raw or cooked. A protein rich additive to flour used in making bread, porridge etc. It can also be eaten with the young flowers, which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested[K].
The hairs of the fruits are used for stuffing pillows etc. They have good insulating and buoyancy properties. The pollen is highly inflammable and is used in making fireworks.This plants extensive root system makes it very good for stabilizing wet banks of rivers, lakes etc.
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Grows in boggy pond margins or shallow water to 15cm deep. Requires a rich soil if it is to do well. Succeeds in sun or part shade. Provides excellent cover for water fowl.Plants can be very invasive, spreading freely at the roots when in a suitable site.
Problems, pests & diseases
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