Best time to travel to Greenland

Cottongrass Blooming in Greenland

The surprisingly​ green landscape of Greenland becomes dotted with white fluffy flowers in summer

Cottongrass Blooming
Cottongrass Blooming
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If you're visiting Greenland during summer and autumn, you'll notice hundreds of little fluffy buds looking like cotton tufts all over the island's terrain. In winter and spring they look rather ordinary and inconspicuous but after fertilization, ​in summer they turn into perfect hairy puffs that contrast with the grey surrounding. They often grow in the wetlands and bogs, but it's better to avoid traveling to those places. Unlike cotton, the bristles of the cottongrass aren't suitable for making textile because they are too tender though they are used to make paper, pillows, candle-wicks, and wound dressings. Some parts of the plant are edible and are a part of the Inuit diet.

Practical info

When is the best time to see the cottongrass blooming in Greenland?

The cottongrass blooms between June to September, which is summer and fall in Greenland. The landscape is covered with white, fluffy cotton buds that are a remarkable sight to behold. Conversely, during winter and spring, cottongrass does not bloom, and if seen, it does not attract much attention. Show more

Where are the best places to spot cottongrass in Greenland?

Cottongrass grows throughout Greenland's landscape, but it is primarily visible in the country's wetlands and bogs. Outside these areas, the Qeqertarsuaq Island and Disko Island near Ilulissat town are the perfect spots for cottongrass sighting. Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut also provides an opportunity to witness the glorious cotton buds in lush green surroundings. Show more

How significant is the sight of the cottongrass bloom in Greenland?

Cottongrass bloom is a crucial component of Greenland's ecosystem and forms an essential aspect of the Inuit culture. This fantastic sight of the fluffy buds against a gray surrounding is etched in one's memories forever. Additionally, the Inuit people use the plant's various parts for food, clothing, and other purposes, making it an integral part of their culture and traditions. Show more

Are there any cultural or traditional beliefs surrounding cottongrass in Greenland?

The Inuit people hold cottongrass in high esteem and consider it a symbol of spirituality and abundance. According to their beliefs, it connects humans with the spiritual world, represents a thriving life, and is a vital cultural element significant in traditions that have been passed down through generations. Also, the Inuit use the plant's various parts for clothing, food, medicinal purposes, and for making candles. Show more

Can cottongrass be used for any medicinal or food purposes, apart from making textile and paper?

In addition to making textiles and paper, cottongrass has many other uses. The Inuit use the stem base and flowers as a food source, either raw or boiled. It also has medicinal uses, and the bristles can be used for dressing wounds, while the buds can make essential oils and candles, relied upon during the long polar nights. Therefore, cottongrass is a precious resource to the Inuit and a valuable part of their daily lives. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin