Cotton grass blowing in wind against blue sky


Cottongrasses are not grasses at all, although they are close relatives. They are in fact sedges. There are about 25 species of cottongrass, all of which grow in boggy conditions. The cottongrasses get their name from the fluffy white fruiting heads which - in UK species - appear in May and June. This fluffy white 'cotton' was once used to stuff pillows, as an alternative to goose down. However, the strands are not long enough to spin into thread or weave into cloth.

Scientific name: Eriophorum

Rank: Genus

Common names:


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The Cottongrass can be found in a number of locations including: North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Cottongrass distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web