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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

62. Cyperaceae, the Sedge Family

6. Eriophorum L. -- Cottonsedge

2. Eriophorum gracile Koch -- Slender cottonsedge

Culms solitary from rhizomes, slender, weak, subterete, 2-6 dm tall, 1-2 mm thick. Leaves few to several, the basal often withered by flowering time, the uppermost arising above or below the middle, with a reduced blade shorter than the sheath; blades channeled on the upper surface, 1-2 mm wide. Spikelets 2-5, obovoid to obconic, 1.5-2 cm long with the expanded bristles; pedicels spreading to nodding, to 3 cm long; involucral bracts several but only 1 foliaceous and erect, shorter than the inflorescence; scales pale to blackish-brown, ovate, bluntly acute-tipped; perianth bristles white. Achenes pale tan to light brown, narrowly obovate, 2.5-3.5 mm long, 1/3 to 1/4 as wide. Jun--Jul. Fens and boggy meadows; rare and possibly extirpated in our region, e SD and nc NE; (Circumboreal, s in N.Amer. to PA, IN, IA, NE, CO, ID and CA).
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key

Previous Section -- Eriophorum chamissonis C. A. Mey. -- Chamisso cottonsedge
Return to Family -- Cyperaceae - The Sedge Family
Next Section -- Eriophorum polystachion L. -- Narrowleaf cottonsedge

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