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Eriophorum Cotton Grass.JPG
Eriophorum vaginatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Eriophorum
Type species
Eriophorum vaginatum
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. ^ 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.