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Recognized as an excellent plant for concealing hunters, cattails also provide nourishment for hungry backpackers. You typically find the plant on the edges of freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and ponds formed by heavy rainfall. Many Native American tribes made cattails a diet staple. You can boil or eat the rootstalk raw. However, the rootstalk grows underground, so you may want to avoid it if you find the plant growing in industrialized areas. The mainly white stem at the bottom of the plant represents the most delicious part of the cattail. Boil the leaves the same way that you boil spinach. At the top of the cattail, the flower spike has a corn like taste to it.