First Cottongrass of the year seen on the moors

First photos received in today of the Cottongrass on show on the North York Moors this year.

Cottongrass is fluffy and with cotton-like flower and seed heads it gives this distinctive plant it’s name, however as a member of the sedge family it technically isn’t a grass at all.  After fertilisation in early summer, the small, unremarkable green and brown flowers develop distinctive white seed-heads that resemble tufts of cotton. Combined with its ecological suitability to bog, these characteristics give rise to the plant’s alternative name, bog cotton.

The Cotton Grass is a very welcome sight on the moors as it is a sign of a healthy bog, growing on managed blanket bog and wet heath areas.  The moorland birds thrive on the high protein seed heads of the cotton grass and it is a really important host plant for insects.