Nature’s Comedies: The Corn Dog Plant…

You saw the meme online where someone puts ketchup and mustard on this plant that looks like a corn dog and gives it a negative review like, “Worst corn dog I ever ate!” Going down by the lake, I’ve always loved this plant because it adds to the beauty of nature. I wouldn’t, however, want to eat this as a corn dog for my next meal. What is that plant called?

The plant that looks like a corn dog is called the cattail, and you can spot them easily because they have the characteristic corn dog appearance. While the female brown part is soft like cotton or dandelion fuzz, the other part is a male cylinder-like flowering spike.

Can You Eat Cattails?

We wouldn’t try to eat a cattail in the same way that you would eat a corn dog. It won’t taste good. Still, several parts of the cattail can be eaten. Did you know that cattails produce more starch per acre than potatoes? With potatoes or yams, you can only eat the root, but at different stages in the development of the cattail, you can eat edible parts of it—in other words, this wild corn dog is edible!

Before you eat, check to see that it comes from a clean water source and doesn’t have pesticides on it.

The edible parts of the cattail include:

  • Roots
  • Catkins
  • Cattail pollin
  • Shoots and stalks

Cattail Roots

Harvestable throughout the year, we would say that the cattail roots will test best in the autumn and winter season. Preparing a cattail root, you will clean the roots and trim away at the smaller roots. This leaves you with a large rhizome. Grill, bake or boil the cattail until it becomes tender. You can also use the cattail roots to make flour. This wild corn dog is probably more useful than a real corn dog—it’s also healthier.

Check out the video below to see how to harvest cattail roots for eating:


This portion of the cattail will taste the best during the spring season when still green. Believe it or not, you can eat cattail like how you would corn on the cob. Boil the catkins until you have heated them up and serve them with salt, pepper and butter.

Cattail Pollen

You probably wonder how you can cook cattail pollen. In fact, you wait until the later part of June to begin the pollen harvest, and what you will turn it into is a type of flour substitute. It has antiseptic properties and will help with providing skincare, preventing anemia and providing increased energy.

As you bend the cattails off into the bag, you will shake off the pollen. Don’t be surprised at how fast you collect pollen. You can quickly come up with several pounds of it without trying, and truth is, it makes a mean pancake! Check out this awesome recipe if interested!

Shoots and Stalks

The last edible part of our plant that looks like a corn dog is the shoots and stalks. During the spring season, you can harvest the stalks, which are at the white part of the cattail near the root, and the new shoots coming up. You clean them up, slather them in peanut butter, and they taste like asparagus. We would advise that you eat them fresh for the best flavor.

You can learn more about how to eat the shoots and stalks here:

Cattails: Easily Recognized Because They Look Like Corn Dogs

Once you know a cattail, you never forget it because of its distinct appearance. This has become a popular water garden plant because of how easily you can recognize it. The common cattail can grow up to 8 feet, and you can find it pervasively throughout North America. It’s one of the easiest plants to recognize once you know it. The Typha angustifolia is a smaller version that only reaches 4 feet in height.

If you were to use cattails in a water garden, we would recommend that you only use them by themselves. The biggest issue with combining them with papyrus or rushes is how the cattail will lose their geometric seed heads.

We would call the cattail perhaps one of the most useful plants out there. In case you’re interested in the stories behind it, we would recommend the book “Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine.”

You will learn some fascinating tidbits about the cattail and other plants like the prickly pear cactus.

How to Plant Cattails in a Water Garden

Cattails look especially good in a water garden when you place them in a classical fountain or contemporary setting. The strong verticals when put up alongside the horizontal walls will look fantastic. You might place them near a stucco wall or a plaster wall. Don’t plant them in a shady location because they like the sun. You want either a partially shady or a full-sun area to plant them.

You usually want to plant them in the early autumn shortly after a rainfall. Contrary to what you might believe, plant them about 3 feet apart. Over the years, the cattails will self propagate themselves and fill out your garden space.

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Cattails Wild Corn Dogs: What to Know

Previously, we spoke about how you can find male and female flowers growing on the same plant. This happens because of how cattails are monoecious. That means that male and female flowers grow on it. The two different flowers will often develop on different parts of the plant. The male flower forms at the top known as a tassel. On the other hand, the female flowers will develop on the sides.

You can see the flowers pop up in the summer season.

Human History of Cattails

Throughout human history, cattails have proven a useful companion in the many things that they could be used for. Humans used them as a food source among many other things. In the northeastern part of North America, Native Americans used them as siding sewn into their homes called wigwams. Especially in places where the wetlands dominated, you would see this used.

Many of the early Europeans would comment on how dry, weatherproof and comfortable the Native American homes were.

Humans also used cattails for medicines. For example, burnt cattail leaves could be used to make a sap that would treat wounds. At the same time, it stopped them from getting infected at a time when wounds were a big killer. They also used the sap from cattails to treat toothaches, whooping cough and sprains.

Even more fascinating, nature’s corn dog was used to bundle together, and the Native Americans would sculpt duck decoys out of them. Would you like to learn about some of the other wacky things that you can do with plants? Learn what plants like coffee grounds here.

Breaking Open a Cattail: Corn Dog Chaos!

Cattails have one fascinating thing about them that might surprise you. When you break them open, it looks like straight smoke or millions upon millions of bubbles. Do you wonder how something so big could come out of that tiny plant? Check out this video to see more about what I mean. It’s a great video that’s somehow satisfying to watch. Dandelions can’t compare to this one. This guy gives the impression that he has given the field a bubble bath:

Other Names for Cattails

  • Corn dog grass
  • Catkins
  • Bullrush (British)
  • Reedmace (also British)
  • Bulrush (Canadian)
  • Raupo (New Zealand)
  • Punks (Australia)
  • Ament

Are Cattails Poisonous?

As long as you can find cattails out in the wilderness, you don’t have to worry too much about starving since many parts of the plant are edible. Beware, however, of the poison iris, which looks similar to the cattail. You don’t want to mistake this one. While they only cause abdominal pain and a burning sensation in the mouth, it’s better not to make a mistake with it.

The general rule of thumb to distinguish the poison iris from the cattail is that a cattail looks like a corn dog near the top or a cigar head. The poison iris doesn’t have this. Unless you know 100-percent for certain that it is safe, never ingest a plant that you don’t know. The results could be deadly.

How Animals Use Cattails

Redwing blackbirds, waterfowl, muskrats, raccoons, deer, frogs and turtles all nest in or shelter among cattails. Birds will even use cattail fluff to make their nests. Like humans, they will use it as a food source. Beavers, muskrats and certain fish species are known to use them for food.

In our environment, cattails serve an important role where they prevent erosion, and at the same time, new research has even shown how cattails remove pollution from our waters with their surrounding roots. Their roots have microorganisms that break down organic materials.

You can find over 30 species of cattails out in nature. They mainly occur in the cold and temperate regions of the Northern and Southern hemispheres.


The cattails would be the most distinguishable plant around because of how it looks like a corn dog. No other plant in nature has this appearance that we’re aware of. At the least, it doesn’t have too much for similarities. Even with the poison iris, as long as you look for the corn dog on top, you should be fine. We think of this as one of the great plants to know about because of its many uses even today.

Cattails are a utilitarian plant that is semi-aquatic, and they form dense stands in what is often wet and mucky soils. In all the cases where I saw cattails, it was usually in a wet and mucky type of soil.

— Update: 09-02-2023 — found an additional article Plants That Look Like Corn Dogs: [Corn Dog Plant] from the website for the keyword plants that look like hot dogs.

The plant that looks most like a corn dog is the southern cattail. These plants are found in freshwater marshes and have tall, stiff, grass-like leaves with corndog-on-a-stick flowers.

Southern cattails (Corn dog plant)are not only attractive, but they are also useful plants. The seeds can be ground into flour and the young shoots can be eaten as a vegetable.

[Related Article: Is Boston Ivy Poisonous]

Are Southern Cattails Poisonous

Plants that look like hot dogs

Cattails are a common plant found in wetlands across the United States. These plants are often used in landscaping and as decoration in gardens. While they are beautiful, many people wonder if they are safe to have around. Are Southern cattails poisonous?

The answer is no, Southern cattails are not poisonous. In fact, every part of the plant is edible. The roots can be cooked and eaten, the shoots can be added to salads, and the pollen can be used as a flour substitute.

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However, you should be careful not to mistake a toxic look-alike, the poison iris, for the edible plant. The poison iris looks similar to the cattail, but it is actually quite dangerous.

If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. So, while cattails are safe to eat and enjoy, be sure to know the difference between them and their poisonous doppelganger.

What Does Cattail Taste Like

The corn dog plant that has been around for centuries. It is most commonly found in marshes and swampy areas. The plant itself looks like a hot dog on a stick, hence its nickname “corn dog plant.”

Cattail is edible and has a taste similar to a bitter cucumber. The plant is high in fiber and low in calories, making it a good choice for those looking to add more greens to their diet.

Cattail is a nutritious plant that can be eaten raw or cooked. When eaten raw, the plant tastes similar to a bitter cucumber. The leaves can be used in salads or as wraps for sandwiches.

The stems can be juiced or added to soups and stews. Cattail is also a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium.

Are Cattails Considered Invasive Species

Cattails are a type of wetland plant that is commonly found in marshes, swamps, and wetlands. These plants are often considered to be invasive because they have the ability to rapidly grow and spread.

Cattails can crowd out other plant species and change the structure of wetland ecosystems.

In some areas, cattails are considered to be a nuisance because they can clog waterways and make it difficult for other plants to grow. However, cattails also provide important habitats for wildlife, including birds, mammals, and reptiles.

These plants can also help to stabilize soils and prevent erosion.

Whether or not cattails are considered to be an invasive species depends on the location. In some areas, these plants are welcome additions to wetland ecosystems. However, in other areas, they can cause problems for native plant species

Why Are Cattails Important To Wildlife

Cattails are an important part of the wetland ecosystem and provide many benefits to wildlife. These plants can be found in marshes, ponds, and lakes and play a vital role in providing food and shelter for many animals.

One of the most important benefits of cattails is that they provide food for a variety of animals. The seeds of these plants are a favorite food source for ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. In addition, the leaves and stems of cattails are eaten by muskrats, beavers, and rabbits.

Cattails also provide valuable cover for many animals. The dense growth of these plants provides excellent hiding places for fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals.

The thick mats of cattails also offer protection from predators for nesting birds such as herons, ibises, and bitterns.

In addition to their importance to wildlife, cattails have also been used by people in a variety of ways. The dried leaves of these plants were once used as stuffing for mattresses and pillows.

The downy seeds were used to line gloves and jackets to keep them warm. Cattails have also been used in basket-making, thatching roofs, and making paper.

The next time you see a cattail stand tall in the wetlands, remember all the ways this plant benefits both people and wildlife!


These plants are edible and have a variety of uses. They are also considered to be invasive in some areas. If you are looking for a plant to add to your garden, I hope this post has been helpful.

— Update: 09-02-2023 — found an additional article Plants That Look Like Corn Dogs from the website for the keyword plants that look like hot dogs.

If you’ve ever had the chance to eat a corn dog, you know how much fun it can be to roll around your taste buds with savory flavors of sausage and corn batter over delicious hot dogs. 

However, when it comes to plants, some don’t even have any meat at all. Though they certainly lack in meat products, these plants have plenty of other spices on their leaves that will spice up your taste buds and may even trick you into thinking they look like corn dogs. 

And so we present to you the strange and surprising world of plants that look like corn dogs.

Are They Real?

Of course, they’re real. We don’t want to be caught standing next to one of these babies without any proof. While some might look like they’ve been Photoshopped, it turns out there are plenty more authentic-looking plants that could pass for summer fair food.

Plants That Look Like Corn Dogs

1. Common Cattails (Typha Latifolia)

Plants that look like hot dogs

As their name suggests, cattails are a type of plant that looks exactly like corn dogs, which makes them amazing camouflage for animals. If you’re ever at a theme park where people are dining on corn dogs, keep your eyes peeled for these plants-the resemblance is uncanny.

In fact, cattails sometimes smell like corn when they’re crushed. They’re found in marshy areas across North America. Be careful if you plan to grab one. They can be dangerous if ingested. Cattail pollen is known to cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

To learn more about these incredible plants, take a trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay or Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando. These two parks include some of nature’s most fascinating marvels, so be sure to see what else they have in store for you.

If you’re interested in growing your own cattail, you can purchase seeds from nurseries or online. They prefer a sunny location with moist soil, so be sure to check on them regularly. When they’re young, cattails are edible-try boiling them for a delicious meal.

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But remember that mature plants aren’t safe to eat. In fact, even walking through a patch of cattails can cause your skin to break out in painful welts. Be careful when encountering these strange plants– just because they look like corn dogs doesn’t mean they should be eaten.

2. Typha Angustifolia (Narrowleaf Cattail)

Plants that look like hot dogs

With a name like Typha Angustifolia, you might expect that you’re about to try a hot dog on a stick. But no, no. This is what a corn dog looks like. As I understand it (I’m going off Wikipedia here), Typha Angustifolia is one variety of Cattail plants.

The cattail is an interesting little plant in that its pollen can be used as flour, and its starchy root can be eaten as a vegetable. Native Americans have used it for centuries, who would eat its young shoots in springtime or use its pollen to make bread or cakes.

The cattail also has medicinal uses: Native Americans would often burn pieces of cattails over their skin for relief from rashes or other ailments caused by poison ivy or other plants. While some people may look at these strange plants and think they resemble a corn dog, others see them as something completely different.

The Strangest Place You Can Find Them

The jungles of Latin America, where corn dogs grow on vines. The original use for these giant corn dogs was as fishing bait (the large seed pods are filled with a milky, nutritious substance that attracts fish), but it has since grown in popularity for its ‘edible’ properties.

Some people even claim it is one of nature’s finest foods, but be careful to take small bites – a whole seed pod will likely cause you to throw up. Though rare, death reports have been recorded when individuals consume too much at once. So if you do decide to eat them, remember: When in doubt, just nibble.

3. Typha Laxmannii (Graceful Cattail)

Plants that look like hot dogs

Looking somewhat like an ear of miniature corn, Typha Laxmannii is a member of an aquatic plant family native to Russia. Humans don’t eat the flowering cattail, but it has been used as animal fodder. Some even use it for medicinal purposes.

4. Typha Domingensis (Southern Cattail)

Plants that look like hot dogs

The tall grass that grows in your backyard may look like a corn dog. In fact, it might just be a cattail. Its unusual vertical growth pattern makes Typha Domingensis a striking addition to any garden. This plant is native to North America and has been used for everything from weaving baskets to making mats for Native Americans. 

It’s easy to grow as long as you keep its roots wet-but don’t worry about over-watering. This plant can survive even underwater for extended periods of time. Be sure not to let it dry out completely, though if you do, expect some pretty severe damage (like exploding).

Can I eat them?

Some people might think that because these plants look like corndogs, you can actually eat them (because why not). However, you probably shouldn’t eat corn dogs unless you know what they’re made out of. 

These plants are poisonous to humans, just like corn dogs. So be careful. If you see one in your backyard, don’t try to have it for dinner. Get rid of it with proper tools such as a shovel. It could cause harm if ingested by humans.

How Do You Take Care Of These Plants?

We’ve looked into a handful of plants that are often confused for corn dogs or just similar enough to have their own moniker. Regardless, we’re here to help you understand these strange-looking succulents so you can enjoy them in your home. 

We’ll also include tips on how to care for each plant, so it looks as good as possible when you show it off to your friends. Here are some tips for caring for these plants-

  1. The most important thing to know about these plants is that they are succulents, meaning they store water in their leaves, stems, or roots to survive in areas with little rainfall. Because of their adaptation to dry climates, succulents require very little water-in fact, over-watering is one of the most common mistakes people make when caring for these plants.
  2. It’s also important to remember that succulents are sun-lovers, so make sure you place them in a spot with plenty of sunlight throughout the day. A windowsill is a great option for these plants-just be sure to avoid direct sunlight during hot summer months. Succulents can also do well in rooms with artificial lighting, as long as they’re not near any heat sources (like lamps or televisions).
  3. Succulents are also not picky about soil type, but they do need well-draining soil. It’s best to purchase a cactus or succulent potting mix, which is made specifically for these plants and will drain quickly, so your plant doesn’t get waterlogged. However, you can also use regular potting soil if you keep an eye on your plant-if it starts to look droopy or shriveled, it probably needs more water.


The world is a strange place. From a curious yellow flower to hibiscus plants that look like tigers, many plants are a bit more unique than others. In fact, there are even some plants out there that have appearances so similar to common foods, such as hot dogs, corn dogs, fried eggs, bananas, and more. 

These mysterious organisms are wonderful examples of nature’s beauty and how intelligent it can be at times. This article shows the strange and surprising world of plants that look like corn dogs. But who knows what plants will surprise us next?


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About the Author: Tung Chi