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Cotton Grass

Cotton grass at Beanley Wood

I’d mentioned recently that the dominant yellows of early Spring were now being accompanied by reds, blues and whites in the valley. Well, other than the currently flowering hawthorn, if you want to see carpets of white you may need to climb a little higher and onto the heath land.

Just around the margins of Beanley’s Wood [Ref: NU104178] the cotton grass is in full show.

Cotton grass near Beanley
Cotton grass near Beanley

If you’ve walked through the wood, you have to go our beyond the fence and onto the open moorland. I couldn’t see any cotton grass inside the fence – it was all out there.

Cotton grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) thrives on open land, often preferring a boggy landscape. It’s a perennial flowering plant of the sedge family. The distinctive feature is its fluffy, cotton-like seed heads that stand well above its smooth, narrow leaves. From their shape, it’s easy to see why the plant is also called hare’s tail cotton grass. And, as it grows in mounded clumps – tussocks – it’s also known as tussock cotton grass.

Tussock of cotton grass
Tussock of cotton grass
Head of cotton grass
Head of cotton grass

The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.

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