Hairy Cottongrass
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Hairy Cottongrass
ative Photo: Amit Kumar
Common name: Hairy Cottongrass • Nepali: फुरके झार Phurke Jhaar • Nepali: फुर्के झार Furke Jhaar, पम्पुर्य Pampurya
Botanical name: Eriophorum comosum    Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge family)
Synonyms: Trichophorum comosum, Scirpus comosus, Erioscirpus comosus

Hairy Cottongrass is a grass-like plant with short, stout rhizomes. Stems (culms) are densely tufted, obtusely 3-angled or rarely cylindric, 14-78 cm tall, 1-2 mm thick, smooth, clothed at base with black to brown leaf sheaths. Leaves are many, overtopping inflorescence. Leaf blade is linear, 0.5-1 mm wide, margin involute and rough, gradually tapering and setaceous toward apex. Involucral bracts are leaflike, overtopping inflorescence. Bractlets are lanceshaped, margin rough apically setaceous. Inflorescence is a large compound or decompound anthela, 6-22 cm. Spikelets are many, solitary or a cluster of 2 or 3, oblong but ellipsoid at anthesis, 6-12 mm. Glumes are brown, ovate-lanceolate, 2.3-3 mm, membranous, keel green, excurrent into a mucro at acute to obtuse apex; basal 4 glumes empty. Hairy Cottongrass is found growing in crevices on rock or cliffs, and on grassland slopes, at altitudes of 500-2800 m. It is found in parts of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, N India, Indonesia, Kashmir, N Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam and SW Asia. Flowering: May-November.

Identification credit: Manoj Chandran Photographed in Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.

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