Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Eriophorum chamissonis
Chamisso's cotton-grass, russet cottongrass

Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest and in the northeastern corner of Washington; Alaska to Oregon, east to the Rocky Mountains, northern Great Plains, and Great Lakes region.

Habitat: Swamps and other wet places from along the coast to middle elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Herbaceous perennial from extensive creeping rhizomes, the culms stout, 3-7 dm. tall.


Leaves few, mostly basal, with well-developed sheath and narrow, channeled blade up to 2 mm. wide; sheathes closed; uppermost sheath about mid-culm, often bladeless.


Spikelet terminal and solitary, with up to 7 sterile scales, the outermost enlarged, up to 2 cm. long; fertile scales subtending the flowers partly blackish-green, with the tip and margins paler, russet-flecked on a whitish background; perianth consisting of numerous capillary bristles 2-4 cm. long, reddish to white; stamens 3; style trifid.


Achenes dark, about 2 mm. long, obovate.

Accepted Name:
Eriophorum chamissonis C.A. Mey.
Publication: Fl. Altaica. 1: 70. 1829.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Eriophorum altaicum Meinsh. var. neogeum Raymond
Eriophorum chamissonis C.A. Mey. var. aquatile (Norman) Fernald
Eriophorum rufescens Andersson
Eriophorum russeolum Fr. ssp. rufescens (Andersson) Hyl.
Eriophorum russeolum Fr. var. albidum F. Nylander
Eriophorum russeolum Fr. var. leucothrix (Blomgren) Hultén
Eriophorum russeolum Fr. var. majus Sommier
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Eriophorum chamissonis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Eriophorum chamissonis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Eriophorum chamissonis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Eriophorum chamissonis photos.

USDA Plants: Eriophorum chamissonis information.

34 photographs:
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