Information on Common Cottongrass

Common Name: Common Cottongrass
Scientific Name: Eriophorum angustifolium
Irish Name: Ceannbhán
Family Group: Cyperaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Cottongrass is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


As its other common name, Bog Cotton, might suggest, this is a plant of very damp peaty ground. Its leaves mostly arise from the base of the plant, often being tinged with red or brown. It has tiny insignificant little brown flowers in April and May but it is really when it is in fruit that this becomes a most eye-catching and attractive plant. Borne on 30-50cm high, cylindrical stems, the little seeds are held in fluffy, downy, white tufts which quiver and shake in the wind, a most effective dispersal method.  This is a native pant belonging to the family Cyperaceae.  

I've known this – as Bog Cotton – since the 1950's and photographed it on Derrybawn, Co Wicklow in 1990. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Cottongrass, Common
Cottongrass, Common

Bog Cotton was used by our forebears to stuff pillows and mattresses.