Grass-like perennial forb to 4m tall. Leaves in 2 rows up the stems, with a sheath at the base, 100-200cm long, 4-20mm wide, flat, hairless. Male and female flowers on the same plant. Individual flowers small (less than 3mm across), brown, with 0 petals, in cylindrical spikes, the upper spike consisting of male flowers, and the lower spike of female flowers.
Difficult to distinguish from Typha orientalis. Differs from Typha orientalis in that the leaves are narrower (up to 20mm wide) and the mature flower spikes are usually less than 20mm in diameter. Accurate differentiation between the two species requires microscopic examination of female flowers.
Description in G.M. Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and J H Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales page 37