Get my 2023 Alaska Wall Calendar or Aurora Calendar here!
*I use Alaska cotton in the title here because it is the only name I have heard it called in Alaska. The actual common name is just cottongrass, as many species have a widespread distribution in the northern hemisphere.
The stem and root are edible. Eriophorum angustifolium has the most record of being used as food by native tribes. The roots sometimes being boiled or eaten raw. Stem fried in seal oil or roots stored in seal oil. Yupik traditionally used an extract from the leaves for medicinal purposes to treat gastrointestinal problems.
Flower: Seed heads cotton-like fibers or bristles (pappi), white to reddish-brown in color. Some species may have multiple flower heads, some are singular. Leaves: grass-like, slender, v-shaped Stem: Erect, tall
Most species are between 30-60 cm (12-24 in) tall with a drooping head of cotton that is whitish in color. The cotton fibers release in the wind to disperse seeds. Alaska cotton typically grows in the tundra on tussocks or in boggy areas or near water where there is wet soil.
There are 18 species of cottongrass in the world and 15 of these are native to Alaska. Out of the 15 species of Alaska cotton, the most common is Tall Cotton Grass (Eriophorum angustifolium), which is also the most common cottongrass found throughout the world. Hikers are very familiar with the Tall Cotton Grass that grows on deep round tussocks and make it all too easy to roll an ankle.
The Kamchatka fritillary, also commonly known as the chocolate lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis) is a brown flowering plant living mostly in coastal areas in Alaska and northwestern North America and coastal...