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Common Name: Cotton Grass
Eriophorum angustifolium is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, to Siberia and N. America.
Peat bogs, acid meadows and marshes[
Requires boggy conditions or a pond margin and an acid soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils.
Young stem bases - raw or cooked[
]. Usually cooked and eaten with oil[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. The blackish covering should be removed[
The leaves and roots are considerably astringent and have been used in the past as a treatment for diarrhoea[
Some native North American Indian tribes would eat the stems raw in order to restore good health to people in generally poor health[
The cottony seed hairs are used to make candle wicks[
]. They are also used for stuffing pillows[
], paper making etc and as a tinder[
]. Experiments have been made in using the hairs as a cotton substitute, but they are more brittle than cotton and do not bear twisting so well[
The dried leaves and stems have been woven into soft mats or covers[
Seed - sow in situ in spring in a moist soil in light shade. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 6 weeks at 15°c[
If the seed is in short supply it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. Place the pots in a try of water to keep the compost moist. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be replanted direct into their permanent positions.