Hare's-tail Cottongrass

Latin name: Eriophorum vaginatum

Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Tufts of cotton-like white flowers give this species its characterful name. It is very similar to another species of cottongrass – common cottongrass.

Cottongrass has had some interesting uses throughout history. In the First World War it was used for wound-dressings in Scotland and it has also been used to stuff pillows in Suffolk.

Hare's-tail cottongrass has densely tufted stems which form tussocks; narrow dark green leaves which are triangular in cross section, and flowers which consist of a single spikelet.

This species favours wet peaty environments such as moorland bogs and wet heath habitats. It is common in the western, central and northern areas of the British Isles. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Hare's-tail cottongrass is particularly abundant on the high ground in the central and northern parts of the National Park.

It has a similar distribution to common cottongrass, but it is able to also tolerate higher acidity, drier habitats and higher altitudes than common cottongrass.

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Still summer’s song beats in my blood Alan Hartley

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