Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

A Sea of Cotton on Newon Moor

One of the summer spectacles of acid bogs and wet heaths is the Common cottongrass, Eriophorum angustifolium. This plant, with its silky white seed-heads, creates a striking scene, whitening whole patches of bog.

Beyond this visual charm, Cottongrass is rather unremarkable and underutilised. Efforts to produce usable thread from the seed-plumes have failed due to their short fibres. Nonetheless, they have been employed in Sussex for pillow stuffing and gathered by Scottish children for wound dressings during the First World War.

Cottongrass also plays a role in ecological restoration. Plugs of this plant have been used to stabilise degraded peatlands, effectively preventing erosion and providing a natural cover of flora.







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