Ängsull/Cottongrass

E. plystàchyum, Ängsull: bland m. el. m. rännformiga; ax (oftast) flera, med glatta skaft. - Våta st.a. 

Svensk flora för skolor av Th. O. B. N. Krok och S. Almquist, 1952
I. Fanerogamer och ormbunkväxter

SvenskFloraKrokAlmquistweb


Cottongrass

Eriophorum angustifolium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eriophorum angustifolium, commonly known as common cottongrass or common cottonsedge, is a species ofsedge in the plant genus Eriophorum of the family Cyperaceae. Native to North America, North Asia, and Northern Europe, it is often found on peat or acidic soils, in open wetland, heath or moorland. It begins to flower in April or May and, after fertilisation in early summer, the small, unremarkable brown and green flowers develop distinctive white bristle-like seed-heads that resemble tufts of cotton; combined with its ecological suitability to bog, these characteristics give rise to the plant's alternative name, bog cotton.

Eriophorum angustifolium is a hardy, herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial sedge, able to endure in a variety of environments in the temperate, subarctic and arctic regions of Earth. Unlike Gossypium, the genus from which cotton is derived, the bristles which grow on E. angustifolium are unsuited to textile manufacturing. Nevertheless, in Northern Europe, they were used as a substitute in the production of paper, pillows, candle-wicks, and wound-dressings. The indigenous peoples of North America use the plant in cooking and in the treatment of digestive problems.

 

Habitus of Eriophorum angustifolium

Flowering in April

After fertilisation in June

The fruiting plant is conspicuous.

Distribution and ecology

The global distribution of Eriophorum angustifolium (green) covers large areas of northern land masses.

 

In human culture

Eriophorum angustifolium seeds and stems are edible and are used in traditional Native American cuisine by Alaska Natives, Inuit and Inupiat people.The leaves and roots of E. angustifolium are also edible and, because of their astringent properties, used by the Yupik peoples for medicinal purposes, through a process of decoction, infusion or poultice, to treat aliments of the human gastrointestinal tract, and in the Old World for the treatment of diarrhoea. In abundance,E. angustifolium can grow with enough density to disguise wetland and bog. Consequently, it may be used as a natural indicator of areas which are hazardous and to avoid travelling through. Attempts to make a cotton-like thread from the hairs of the plant's seed-heads have been thwarted by its brittleness but it has been used in the production of paper and candle wicks in Germany and was used as a feather substitute in pillow stuffing in Sweden and Sussex, England. In Scotland, during World War I, it was used to dress wounds.

 

Taxonomy

The species was named Eriophorum angustifolium in 1782 by the German botanist Gerhard August Honckeny. The German botanist Albrecht Wilhelm Roth published this name in 1788, referring to Honckeny's work, and is sometimes erroneously considered the author of the species name. The genus nameEriophorum consists of two Ancient Greek roots – εριων (erion, "wool") and -φόρος (-phoros, "-bearing")– referring to the fibrous seed-heads of the genus, which resemble tufts of thread. The specific epithet angustifolium is composed of the Latin words angustus ("narrow") and folium ("leaf"). The Linnaean nameEriophorum polystachion is a nomen rejiciendum, being based on a mixed batch of specimens. Scirpus angustifolius is a later combination published by the Japanese botanist Tetsuo Koyama in 1958, but this generic assignment is not widely accepted.



 


© Aleksandra Jarosz Laszlo 2018