It is one of my all-time favorite plants from the high north: cottongrass (called Eriophorum vaginatum on its passport).
It should be obvious why it is often named the ‘hare’s tail cottongrass’. But this fluffy appearance only hides one of the strongest and most impressive arctic mountain plants.
It is highly common in the arctic tundra everywhere around the north pole. What makes it so impressive is that it proudly sticks its fluffy head out high above all other vegetation. Alpine plants normally keep their heads low to the ground, where the biting winds are less strong and damaging. But the cottongrass does not seem to care at all. The hare’s tail fights against the elements, creating a very nice view, especially on the worst days.
One of my next research subjects will be to check how these typical mountain plants react to our unwanted infiltration in their area, and all the disturbance of habitats following from that. Some of the species will do better, some of them worse, but I am gonna find out why. With that information we know which species are most important to target for conservation.
For now, I can only hope that these cute fluffy balls will come out as survivors!