Have you ever seen a corn dog plant before? No, it’s not a plant that grows corn dogs as we eat at carnivals - it’s a type of succulent.

These plants are native to South Africa and have fleshy leaves that look just like hot dogs! If you’re not keen on growing vegetables in your garden, this could be the perfect alternative.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even get inspired to fry up some actual corn dogs after admiring your new plants!

Plants That Look Like Corn Dog

Cattails and bulrushes are the names of the plants that resemble corn dogs. These plants are typically found near bodies of water and thrive in wet soil conditions.

In addition to their unique appearance, cattails and bulrushes have many practical uses.

The fluffy tops of the plant can be used as insulation for coats and beds, while the roots can be used as food or woven into baskets.

Plants belonging to the Typhaceae family, including those that resemble corn dogs, include:

Typha Latifolia (Common Cattail)

There are natural populations of Common Cattails in the Americas, Eurasia, and even Africa!

In most cases, the water depth is less than 2.6 feet where these marsh plants can be found (0.8 meters). It prefers a freshwater environment but can be found in somewhat brackish wetlands as well.

The thick corn dog part of the plant is popular as a toy for both kids and grownups. If you break it open, you’ll get a flood of fluffy seeds pouring out.

Typha Angustifolia (Narrow Leaf Cattail)

This species of cattail is native to North America, Eurasia, and parts of Africa. Compared to its cousin, the Common Cattail, Narrow Leaf Cattails have smaller flower heads and thinner leaves.

They also prefer shallow water depths for growth - less than 1.6 feet (0.5 meters).

Typha Laxmannii (Graceful Cattail)

Graceful Cattails are found in wetlands in Eurasia, and can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.

Their leaves are narrower than Common Cattails, but their flower heads are larger. They prefer water depths of less than 2 feet (0.6 meters).

Typha Minima (Miniature Cattail)

You can find these tiny cattails growing naturally in wetlands all around the world, including in Asia, Europe, and North America.

They reach a maximum height of 1 foot (0.3 meters), which is significantly less than that of the other types. They do best in shallow water, less than 2 feet deep (0.6 meters).

Are Southern Cattails Poisonous?

There is some debate about the toxicity of cattails for humans, with some sources claiming they are safe to eat and others saying they may be poisonous.

Therefore, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming them unless you are certain they are safe.

It’s important to make sure you don’t confuse the poison iris, which looks quite similar to the edible iris, with the real thing.

Although superficially similar to the harmless cattail, the poison iris has serious health risks. It’s highly toxic and, if consumed, can quickly lead to nausea, diarrhea, and possibly death.

It’s important to know the difference between the harmless cattail and its toxic lookalike cousin so that you can safely consume and enjoy the former.

What Does Cattail Taste Like?

Cattail has a slightly sweet and nutty taste, similar to that of corn on the cob or roasted chestnuts. It can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or fried like a vegetable side dish.

The shoots and young flower heads are particularly tasty when harvested in the springtime. However, it’s important to note that not all parts of the cattail are edible.

The thick part of the lower stem (where it resembles a corn dog) should not be consumed as it is tough and fibrous. It can also contain high levels of toxins, so it’s best to avoid eating this part altogether.

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How to Care for Common Cattail/Corn Dog?

Cattails prefer full sunlight and moist soil or shallow water. They can handle brief periods of drought, but will not thrive in standing water with poor drainage.

Before planting cattails, it’s important to make sure they have enough room to grow without being crowded by other plants.

They are fast-growing and can spread quickly through their root and seed systems, so it’s best to give them plenty of space.

Cattails can also be propagated by dividing their root system or collecting seeds.

It’s important to control their spread by removing flower heads before they release seeds or taking steps to prevent root spreading.

Why Are Cattails Important To Wildlife?

Cattails provide food and shelter for a variety of animals, including ducks, deer, muskrats, and beavers. Their thick stems can also act as nesting material for birds.

In addition, cattails help to improve water quality by filtering out pollutants and excess nutrients through their roots. They are also efficient at preventing erosion in wetland areas.

Overall, cattails are valuable members of wetland ecosystems and should be protected and preserved in their natural habitats.


In general, cattails are low-care plants that enrich wetland gardens with dimension and height. Regardless of which species you choose, these corn dog plants will add a unique touch to your garden or pond area.

Just remember that they prefer moist soil and standing water - be sure not to let them dry out!

And if anyone asks about your strange-looking plants, just tell them it’s a corn dog garden. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even want one for themselves. Happy Gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions

What plant looks like hot dog?

The plant that looks like a hotdog is commonly known as the cattail (Typha spp.). It has long, cylindrical stems and fluffy brown flower heads that resemble a corn dog.

Are all parts of the cattail edible?

No, only the shoots and young flower heads are edible. The thick stem should not be consumed as it is tough and potentially toxic.

What plant looks like a cattail?

Some irises, particularly two species, resemble cattails. Similarly to cattails, blue flag (Iris versicolor) prefers moist environments and can be found in USDA plant hardiness zones 3–9. I. pseudacorus, or yellow flag, is a perennial plant that thrives in USDA climate zones 4 through 9 and looks a lot like a young stand of cattails.

What are the weeds that look like corn dogs?

Cattails are not typically considered weeds but they act like weeds and their mature seed heads may resemble corn dogs due to their elongated shape and brownish color.

What type of plant looks like a corn dog?

“Coneflower” also known as Echinacea, it is a perennial wildflower native to Eastern and Central North America. It produces large, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, purple, orange, and yellow. It’s leaves are long and narrow, sometimes causing it to be mistaken for a corn dog.

Can you eat corn dog plant?

The “corn dog plant” or “Coneflower” also known as Echinacea, is not edible, it is a ornamental plant and not intended for human consumption. Eating the plant can cause stomach upset, and it is not recommended.

What crop looks like corn buts not?

Sorghum is a crop that looks similar to corn but it’s not corn. It is a cereal grain crop and its grain is used for food, feed, and fuel. It is drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of climates, making it a popular crop in many parts of the world.