ISSN 2816-6531

First records of the forgotten cattail Typha japonica Miq. (Angiospermae, Typhaceae) on Sakhalin and Kuril Islands

Evgeny V.  
Olga A.  
Evgeny A.  
Tags: Angiospermae, Cattail, Japanese Archipelago, Kuril Islands, Russia, Sakhalin Island, Typha japonica, Typhaceae
Number 6, 
21 January 2023


The number of cattail taxa in the flora of the Japanese Archipelago is currently estimated at six (four species and two hybrids) (Kadono, 2020). This estimate can be itemized. As a first step, we here restore the valid status of the Japanese cattail (Typha japonica Miq.) and, for the first time, record the species on Sakhalin and Kuril Islands (Russian Federation) (Fig. 1). Thus far, only two cattail species are known on Sakhalin Island (Barkalov and Taran, 2004).

Results and Discussion

The taxonomic history of the Japanese cattail has been unfortunate. It was discovered by Miquel (Stafleu, 1966) who described this presumed endemic of Japan based on its relationship with T. orientalis C. Presl. (Miquel, 1867). For unclear reasons, Kronfeld (1889) and after him Graebner (1900), both treated Miquel’s species as a synonym of the latter, providing no explanation of their decision. Perhaps that was the reason why T. japonica has been widely forgotten taxon for decades. The other reason of such forgetfulness may be rooted in the writings of Miquel himself, who had established T. japonica as the sole species of Typha collected in Japan, while also expressing doubts on its novelty (Miquel, 1870).

Seventeen years after its designation, the lectotype of T. japonica is still stored at the Leiden Herbarium under the name T. angustifolia L. (Fig. 2, left). This classification emphasizes the unique morphology of the Japanese cattail. In fact, morphologically, T. japonica is more similar to T. latifolia L. (sect. Ebracteolatae) than to T. orientalis or T. angustifolia (H. G. Hallier, in Fig. 2, left). In addition to the lectotype, Ohba et al. (2005) listed two syntypes of T. japonica: 1. “Textor [not found], In agris oryzariis submersis ins.[ulae] Kiusiu[Kiu Siu]” (Fig. 2, right). and 2. “Buerger [Pierot no. 851] (L 0328985)”.

In terms of the external morphology, T. japonica clearly differs from T. angustifolia, T. latifolia, and T. orientalis in the sharply narrowed base of the slightly keeled, narrow (≤10 mm) leaf blades (Miquel, 1867, p. 160: “Folia (culmo breviora?) anguste linearia …”, italics ours), as well as by harsh, normally long-lasting spadices. In addition, we found that T. japonica is different from both T. angustifolia and T. orientalis by its 4-cell pollen (1-cell in the others).


The authors acknowledge staff scientists of Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden, the Netherlands), and especially Mr Roxali Bijmoer, for their help obtaining the images of herbarium specimens of T. japonica. The authors would like to thank Dr Andrey Efremov (Omsk State Pedagogical University, Omsk, Russia) for providing the herbarium specimen of T. japonica (TOB).




Barkalov V.Yu., Taran A.A., 2004. Spisok sosudistykh rasteniy ostrova Sakhalin. In: Rastitel'nyj i zhivotnyj mir ostrova Sahalin: Mater. Mezhdunar. Sahalinskogo proekta Sakhalin. 1. Vladivostok: Dal'nauka. [Checklist of the plants of Sakhalin Island. In: Plant and animal world of Sakhalin Island: Proceedings of the International Sakhalin Project. Part. 1. Russia, Vladivostok: Science of Russian Far East]. Pp. 39–66 (In Russian).


Graebner P., 1900. Typhaceae u. Sparganiaceae. Pp. 1–18 in: Engler A., editor. Das Pflanzenreich, IV, 8 (Heft 2). Leipzig: Engelmann.


Kadono Y., 2020. Typhaceae. Pp. 1–2 in: Iwatsuki K., Boufford D.E., Jhba H., editors. Flora of Japan. Volume IVa. Angiospermae. Monocotyledoneae. Tokyo: Kodansha LTD.


Kronfeld M., 1889. Monographie der Gattung Typha Tourn. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien, 39: 89–192.


Miquel F.A.W., 1867. Annales musei botanici Lugduno-Batavi. Vol. 3. Amsterdam: C.G. van der Post. 315 pp.


Miquel F.A.W., 1870. Catalogus musei botanici Lugduno-Batavi: Flora Japonica. Pars prima. Vol. 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff. 229 pp.


Ohba H., Akiyama S., Thijsse G., 2005. Miquel’s new taxa of the vascular plants described from Japan in Prolusio Florae Japonicae and some other works. Univ. Mus. Univ. Tokyo. Bull., 41: 31–140.


Stafleu F.A., 1966. F.A.W. Miquel, Netherlands Botanist. Wentia, 16(1): 1–95.



Fig 1. Typha japonica from Sakhalin Island (left TOB 11510) and Kunashir Island, of the Kuril Islands chain (right, IBIW 69004).


Fig. 2. Lectotype (left, L 0328982) and syntype (right, L 0712839) of Typha japonica.