Okay some of you might think that the title of this blog is an exaggeration, but I'm being serious. This plant might be the single most useful and important plant for survival purposes on the planet. It's certainly one of, if not the most useful, in the northern hemisphere. Here's a picture:
This plant, Cattail also known as Bulrush or punk can be used to meet almost all of your survival needs. It has an edible portion year round: shoot, root/tuber, pollen, and male pollen cone. You can make incredibly warm shelters with piles of cattails and can also use them to make mats, a survival "sleeping bag", hats, visors, rain capes, thatching, even boats! The stalk can be used for a hand-drill fire. The seed pod (the part that looks like a hotdog) can be used as a tinder bundle or a torch.
The plant also is highly medicinal with a antiseptic, antimicrobial gelly at its base and the pollen is really good at stopping bleeding both topically and internally.
So, food, shelter, fire, and medicine all in one. The only other plant that I know of that gives cattail a run for its money is bamboo!!!