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cotton-grass, cottonsedge
Eriophorum Cotton Grass.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Eriophorum
Synonyms [1]
  • Eriophoropsis Palla
  • Leucoma Ehrh.
  • Linagrostis Guett.
  • Plumaria Bubani
  • Plumaria Heist. ex Fabr.

Eriophorum (cottongrass, cotton-grass or cottonsedge) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cyperaceae, the sedge family. They are found throughout the arctic, subarctic and temperate portions of the Northern Hemisphere in acid bog habitats, being particularly abundant in Arctic tundra regions.[2][3][4][5]

They are herbaceous perennial plants with slender, grass-like leaves. The seed heads are covered in a fluffy mass of cotton which are carried on the wind to aid dispersal. In cold Arctic regions, these masses of translucent fibres also serve as 'down' – increasing the temperature of the reproductive organs during the Arctic summer by trapping solar radiation.[6]

Selected species[edit]

The following species are included:[5][1]

  1. Eriophorum angustifolium Honck. - widespread across Europe, Asia, North America
  2. Eriophorum × beringianum Raymond - Alaska including Aleutians; Magadan region of Russia (hybrid E. angustifolium × E. chamissonis)
  3. Eriophorum brachyantherum Trautv. & C.A.Mey. - Scandinavia, northern Russia, Mongolia, Korea, Alaska, northern Canada
  4. Eriophorum callitrix Cham. ex C.A.Mey. - Siberia, Russian Far East, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Montana, Wyoming
  5. Eriophorum chamissonis C.A.Mey. - Siberia, Russian Far East, Korea, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, northern and western United States
  6. Eriophorum crinigerum (A.Gray) Beetle - Oregon, northwestern California
  7. Eriophorum × fellowsii (Fernald) M.S.Novos. - Ontario, Maine, Massachusetts (hybrid E. virginicum × E. viridicarinatum)
  8. Eriophorum gracile Koch - much of Europe; northern and Central Asia; China, Tibet, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada, northern United States
  9. Eriophorum × gracilifolium M.S.Novos. - European Russia (hybrid E. gracile × E. latifolium)
  10. Eriophorum humile Turcz. - Altai, Tuva, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Amur
  11. Eriophorum latifolium Hoppe - much of Europe; Caucasus, Turkey, Mongolia
  12. Eriophorum × medium Andersson - scattered locations in Finland, Norway, Russia, Alaska, Quebec, Labrador (hybrid E. chamissonis × E. scheuchzeri)
  13. Eriophorum × polystachiovaginatum Beauverd - France (hybrid E. angustifolium × E. vaginatum)
  14. Eriophorum × pylaieanum Raymond - scattered locations in Canada and Alaska (hybrid E. chamissonis × E. vaginatum)
  15. Eriophorum × rousseauianum Raymond - Alaska, Quebec (hybrid E. angustifolium × E. scheuchzeri)
  16. Eriophorum scabriculme (Beetle) Raymond - Vietnam
  17. Eriophorum scheuchzeri Hoppe - much of Europe; northern and Central Asia including Siberia, Xinjiang, Himalayas, Alaska, Greenland, Canada, mountains of western United States
  18. Eriophorum tenellum Nutt. - eastern Canada and northeastern United States from Nunavut and Labrador to New Jersey
  19. Eriophorum tolmatchevii M.S.Novos. - Krasnoyarsk, Yakutiya
  20. Eriophorum transiens Raymond - Guizhou
  21. Eriophorum vaginatum L. - most of genus range
  22. Eriophorum virginicum L. - eastern North America from Labrador to Tennessee, west to Michigan
  23. Eriophorum viridicarinatum (Engelm.) Fernald - Canada including Arctic territories; northern United States


  1. ^ a b "Eriophorum L., Sp. Pl.: 52 (1753)". eMonocot. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ Ball, Peter W. & Daniel E. Wujek (2002). "Eriophorum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 52. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 27. 1754". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Cyperaceae. Flora of North America North of Mexico 23 (Oxford University Press). pp. 21–27. ISBN 978-0-19-515207-4. 
  3. ^ Flora Europaea: Eriophorum
  4. ^ Flora of China, Vol. 23 Page 174, 羊胡子草属 yang hu zi cao shu, Eriophorum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 52. 1753.
  5. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  6. ^ Crawford, R. M. M. (1989). Studies in Plant Survival. Blackwell Science. pp. 54–55.