Not a kitty tail --
That brown stick that grows in marshes --
Every time I see cattails growing, I have a strong urge to pick a handful.
As kids we used to pick cattails so we could light the brown portion which burns like a punk, then walk around the neighborhood feeling so cool. Go figure, we walked around carrying a burning plant.
Cattails have a slowly-burning flame, which really isn't a flame at all. The smoke that results from burning -- drives insects away. Including the Minnesota state bird -- mosquito.
Cattails are also edible and have lots of other uses.
I think I'll stick to picking rhubarb and just use the cattails I pick this summer for burning...
and walking around the neighborhood looking cool while I blow on the tip of the burning cattail/punk.