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Blacka Moor Cottongrass
© Blacka Moor Cottongrass

Common Cotton-Grass

Eriophorum angustifolium

The fluffy white heads of Common Cotton-grass dot our brown, boggy moors and heaths as if someone has thrown a giant bag of cotton wool balls across the landscape.

© Blacka Moor cottongrass © N Abbas

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.

How to Identify

The white, cottony seed heads of Common Cotton-grass are extremely distinctive, making it hard to mistake this flower when it’s in fruit. It has dark green, narrow leaves and drooping flower heads.

Where to find

Widespread.

How people can help

Windswept heaths and moors are an iconic feature of the UK’s landscape and are the result of hundreds of years of low-impact human activities such as livestock-grazing and scrub clearance. Yet drainage, development and the decline of traditional farming methods have caused many of these precious habitats to be lost, and the species associated with them are now declining. The Wildlife Trusts manage many heathland habitats for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you’ll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

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.

Key Facts

  • Height: up to 75cm

Donate

Donate to help support Common Cotton-Grass and other wildlife.

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