Eat Invasive Species: Phragmites


Introduction: Eat Invasive Species: Phragmites

“Cossack asparagus” is traditionally the young shoots from Common Cattail (Typha latifolia), but it’s very close to the Phragmites shoots we collected Monday at And like asparagus, one of the best recipes is the simplest. A little boiling, butter, salt, and pepper.

½ lb Phargmites shoots, washed
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs salt
Salt and pepper to taste


Bring several quarts of water to a boil with 1Tbs of salt. Add the shoots to the water and boil for 10 minutes. Strain the shoots and place in serving try, melting and evenly distributing the butter over the top. Salt and pepper to taste.


Serve the shoots still warm but at a handling temperature. Peel 3 or 4 of the tough outer layers off the shoot, to reveal the soft core. Holding the shoot by the hard green end, bite off the core. Alternatively, peel the shoots and cut off the tips before serving. I like finger food.



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    5 Discussions

    Thanks for the post. Unfortunately for me, where I can easily get is a local park that does not allow harvesting of any sort. I'm searching around the Bloomington-Normal area of Illinois to see if I can find anywhere else I might be able to harvest.

    1 reply

    One of the main points of these projects we do at is to have an impact on invasive species, and this also often one of the main goals of parks as well. Be sure to talk directly to a park manager, and explain that you would like to contribute to this goal. Get some friends together, call yourselves volunteers, and let them know well in advance. Demonstrate you know what you're talking about, and you maybe able to get permission.

    All true. We harvested ours from potato creek state park. We recommend that others be careful with their choices as well.

    Here in NYC, phragmites is in abundance on the side of the roads and the marshlands. As part of the local wetlands ecosystem, I believe it might be illegal to tamper with it and harvest from the federally designated park areas and byways.

    1 reply

    Not to mention that anything that grows directly next to a road and uses water full of runoff contaminated with fuel and whatever else probably wouldn't be the best for eating xD