Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Eriophorum gracile W. Koch
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: July-August
- Field Marks: This cotton-grass differs from others by its channeled, triangular leaves and several spikelets on each stem.
- Habitat: Bogs.
- Habit: Perennial herb with thickened rootstocks.
- Stems: Upright or sometimes bent over, unbranched, up to 1 3/4 feet tall, smooth, not
- Leaves: Very narrow, elongated, alternate, triangular, channeled, up to 1 1/2 inches long, smooth, the basal leaves usually absent at flowering time.
- Flowers: Crowded together into 2-4 terminal spikelets, each spikelet up to 1 inch long, on a hairy stalk; all spikelets subtended by a bract up to 1/2 inch long; scales ovate, gray to black, pointed at the tip.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: Usually 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3-parted.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, obovoid to oblongoid, about 1/10 inch long, subtended by
bright white bristles up to 1 inch long.
- Notes: The achenes, which are wind dispersed because of the bright white bristles, are eaten by waterfowl.
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