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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Eriophorum angustifolium Honck.)

Narrow-leaved cottongrass

SEDGE FAMILY (Cyperaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A colonial, perennial herb with stems growing to a height of 2-6 dm. Stem leaf blades are generally flat for most of their length and up to 4 mm. or more wide. The 2 or 3 involucral bracts are leaflike and often exceed the inflorescence. The summit of the leaf sheaths, as well as the base of the involucral bracts, are tinged with a dark red color. Scales are single (mid-) nerved. Nutlets are blackish in color, 2.0-3.0 mm. long and are surrounded by long, silky white bristles. In flower, and thus conspicuous, in late April to mid-May.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Narrow-leaved cottongrass is common in calcareous fens, but also occurs in bogs and open conifer swamps. It is a circumboreal species.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Swink and Wilhelm (1994); and Voss (1972).

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