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Eriophorum latifolium is often confused with:
Eriophorum angustifolium Eriophorum angustifolia
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Typha latifolia Typha latifolia
Saururus cernuus Saururus cernuus
Canna Flower

Broad Leaved Cotton Grass Eriophorum latifolium

Phonetic Spelling
er-ee-OH-for-um lat-ee-FOH-lee-um
Description

This perennial cottongrass common name is misleading as it is a sedge and not a grass. Sedges have shallow triangular shaped, in cross-section, long leaves that are not flat like grass leaves. The latifolium species may be difficult to find in North Carolina but is quite similar to most of the other cottongrass Eriophorum species and especially similar to Eriophorum angustifolium. While its common name is Broad Leaved Cotton Grass, the leaf is just slightly wider and flatter than the E. angustifolium. The leaf is about 8 mm or slightly wider. The plant name prefixes "augusti" and "lati" are Latin for narrow and broad leaved, in this case. However, the latifolium is barely wider than the augustifolium.  The name Eriophorum is greek for "wool bearing".

The following content is the same as on the Eriophorum augustifolium site as these two sedges' growth habits are similar.  

This perennial sedge is not native to the mid-Atlantic region beginning with Pennsylvania south and also not throughout the southern tier of states.  The plant grows in its native areas (northern tier of U.S. and Siberia) in wet areas such as marshlands, boggy areas, and in very shallow waters, including wet ditches. It can also grow in predominantly wet soil adjacent to ponds and rivers.  It prefers an acidic pH soil, likes peat but also grows in sandy or clay soil and in sun to partial shade. 

It can adapt to its less than native conditions if attention is given to its location, water, soil, and nutrient needs.

The plant can be grown in pots or garden water features in about 2 to 3 inches of standing water. This sedge plant is usually about 12 inches tall though it can grow up to 2 to 3 feet in some areas of the country. It reproduces through both seeds and root spread.

This sedge plant is usually about 12 inches tall though it can grow up to 2 to 3 feet. It reproduces through both seeds and root spread. It has angular, v-shaped leaves and tassels of white, cotton colored flowers on leafy stems. To avoid the plant spreading, the seeds must be removed before maturity when wind spreads them, and the plant roots divided every two years or so.

Cottongrasses are often self-pollinating because the flowers are "perfect", meaning each contains both male (stamen) and female (carpel) reproductive) parts. Some are wind-pollinated.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#sun#partial shade#water garden#rain garden#perennial#container plant#cut flowers#sedge#boggy#low maintenance#riparian#year-round interest#flower arrangements#wet sites#pond margins#fast growing#pond#naturalized area#dried arrangements#wet soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#sun#partial shade#water garden#rain garden#perennial#container plant#cut flowers#sedge#boggy#low maintenance#riparian#year-round interest#flower arrangements#wet sites#pond margins#fast growing#pond#naturalized area#dried arrangements#wet soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Eriophorum
    Species:
    latifolium
    Family:
    Cyperaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Verticillium Wilt
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Perennial
    Water Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Clusters of spikes off the stem, usually oval initially and then are cone shaped or fanlike due to the thin tassels as seeds appear. Each flower has at its base a single scale, with a spike tip. The flower appears like a soft cotton cloud from a distance. Up close, very thin strands make up the flower. It can be used as a cut flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaf stems are triangular, as are all sedge leaves, though this sedge 'leaf' is a bit flatter than the more triangular augustifolium (narrow leaf cottongrass). The leaves are flat and alternately placed on the stem, up to 8-10 mm wide. The leaf is up to 16 inches long. The uppermost leaf is about as long as or longer than its sheath.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil