Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cotton Grass (Eriophorum, Cottongrass, Cotton-grass, Cottonsedge, bog cotton) - Swedish Lapland

Actually, cotton grass is not a grass, more a reed being a member of the sedge family. It grows in cold bogs, swampy ground, and as it is able to flourish in areas that are too cold for trees, it is widespread in Arctic Tundra. The fluffy white heads provide a warm nest for the seeds by storing solar radiation and they provide the wind-assisted dispersal of the attached seeds. Cotton grass was once used for stuffing pillows and mattresses and for making candle wicks. In the World War I it was harvested with sphagnum moss to make wound dressings. Nowadays, it is regarded as a costless side product of peat excavation and was used as oil sorbent in marine environmental protection experiments in Finland.

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