Common Cotton-grass

©Richard Burkmarr

Common cotton-grass

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Scientific name: Eriophorum angustifolium
The fluffy, white heads of common cotton-grass dot our brown, boggy moors and heaths as if a giant bag of cotton wool balls has been thrown across the landscape!

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 75cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Common cotton-grass is familiar as the fluffy, white seed heads that dot our brown, boggy moorlands and heaths as if someone has thrown a giant bag of cotton wool balls across the landscape. Blowing in the breeze, they bring these isolated places to life in summer. Despite its name, common cotton-grass is a member of the sedge family, rather than being a grass.

What to look for

The white, cottony seed heads of common cotton-grass are extremely distinctive. It has dark green, narrow leaves and drooping flower heads.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

Historically, common cotton-grass was used to stuff pillows in Sussex. It was also collected and used in Scotland to dress wounds during the First World War.