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Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Eriophorum angustifolium (Tall cottongrass)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Eriophorum angustifolium

Eriophorum angustifolium Honck.

Tall Cottongrass

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)


USDA Symbol: ERAN6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

Extensive patches of erect stems with grass-like leaves, topped by 2-8 white, cottony heads in a cluster.

The name comes from the Greek erion ("wool") and phoros ("bearing"). The slender bristles of "cotton" are actually modified sepals and petals of minute flowers. There are several similar species.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Spikelet
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent.


USA: AK , CO , IA , ID , IL , IN , ME , MI , MN , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NM , NY , OR , SD , TN , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: NB , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, south to central Oregon, Idaho, northern New Mexico, Great Lakes region, New York, and northern New England; also recorded in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Native Habitat: Cold swamps and bogs.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Eriophorum angustifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eriophorum angustifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eriophorum angustifolium


Record Modified: 2023-02-08
Research By: TWC Staff

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