E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Eriophorum chamissonis var. albidum (Nyl.) Fern
Chamisso's cotton-grass
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Eriophorum chamissonis var. albidum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from creeping rhizomes or stolons, extensively colonial; stem 20-75 cm tall.
Basal sheaths brown to purplish-brown, cross-wrinkled, persistent, not or only somewhat expanded upwards, the uppermost sheaths usually bladeless; stem leaves few, usually 1 to 3, located below the middle of the stems, mostly borne near the bases, rarely one above; blades 0.4-2 mm wide, short to elongate, thread-like, folded throughout or triangular in cross-section.
Spikes solitary, terminal, erect, at least some of them pendulous, appearing broad-based, egg-shaped-cylindrical and 1.5-2 cm long in flower, globe-shaped and 2-4 cm long in fruit; anthers mostly 1-3 (3.2) mm long; involucral bracts lacking.
Scales blackish to greyish, the middle scales lanceolate or broadly lanceolate, appressed to ascending, the midribs not reaching the tips, more or less long and sharp-pointed or blunt, with narrow, pale margins or broad translucent margins, the sterile sc
Two, sometimes difficult to separate, varieties occur in BC:

1. Perianth bristles rust-coloured; plants stout, the stems over 1.5 mm wide at the bases; middle scales lanceolate, more or less long-pointed, with narrow, pale margins...................... var. chamissonis.

1. Perianth bristles white to tawny; plants slender, the stems less than 1.5 mm wide at the bases; middle scales broadly lanceolate, blunt, with broad translucent margins..................... var. albidum (Nyl.) Fern.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs, streambanks, lakeshores and wet meadows in all vegetation zones; var. chamissonis – common throughout BC; var. albidum – infrequent in N BC, rare S to 51°N east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to WI, MN, ND, CO and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References