5. Kobresia capillifolia (Decne.) C. B. Clarke, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 20: 378. 1884; in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 697. 1894; R. R. Stewart, l.c. 97; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 165.
Elyna capillifolia Decne., in Jacquem., Voy. Ind., 4 Bot.: 173. 1844.
Perennial, 11-47 cm, forming tight tufts. Rhizome short. Stem 0.5-1.3 mm diam., terete, deeply grooved, smooth, occasionally scabrous. Leaves from c. 2/3 to equalling stem, rigid or often flexuous above, mostly less wide than stem; sheaths 20-75 mm (old sheaths often of equal length), from dark brown to almost black, glossy, sometimes disintegrating into fibres, mouth margin deeply oblique; ligule c. 0.2 mm, slightly arched; blades 1-1.5 mm wide, channelled or inrolled, not keeled, margins scabrous, apex long-attenuate, trigonous, scabrous. Inflorescence 10-46 x 2-4 mm, cylindrical or clavate, composed by from 9 to more than 20 glumes, partial inflorescences, each with one basal pistillate flower (lower occasionally with 2-3 pistillate flowers) and 0-5 staminate flowers on rachilla above; glume-like bracts 3.5-6 mm, longer than partial inflorescence, wide-clasping, from dark to yellowish brown, margins and apex rounded, often widely scarious; utricle 2.7-4.3 mm, glume-like, sheathing, 2-keeled, cymbiform, margins of basal part fused for 0.3-1.1 mm, light brown, apex rounded, narrowly scarious; style 1.5-2 mm, stigmas 3; staminate glumes 2.6-4.6 mm, rather narrow, folded, apex rounded; stamens 2-3. Nut 2.7-3.5 x 1-1.5 mm, obovoid, obtusely trigonous, plano-convex, yellowish or grey-brown, glossy, finely reticulate.
Fl. Per.: July - August.
Type: India, Himachal Pradesh, "Ad nives, supra 4000 m., a Kanum ad Soungnum (Jugum Rounang)." V. Jacquemont 1598 (K!).
Alpine meadows 3000-4000 m; Distribution: Afghanistan, Pakistan, to Nepal. - Distribution unsatisfactorily known, because of closely raletad taxa in Caucasus, north Central Asian mountains, Myanmar and China.
K. capillifolia is related to K. myosuroides (Vill.) Fiori. In K. myosuroides the branches of inflorescences contain one female and one male flower and this situation was found in various parts of its area (Kukkonen l.c., 1990). In K. capillifolia branches contain one female flower, but number of male flowers varies from 1 to 5. Furthermore, extremely closely related species K. capilliformis Ivan. occurs in Tadjikistan and northwards, and another, K. macrolepis Meinsh. in Caucasus (Grosshein, Fl. Kavkaza 2: Map 32, 1940) as K. capillifolia. Whether these really are specifically distinct needs further study.
Stainton 2844 is mentioned in Stewart (1972) as K. tibetica Maxim., which morphologically connects robust K. schoenoides with slender K. capillifolia. These are, however, both variable and no specimens considered to represent true K. tibetica (described from China, Lake Kuku-nor) have been seen from the flora area.
The Central Asian records of K. myosuroides (Vill.) Fiori [= K bellardii (All.) Degl.] should be assigned here (Stewart 1972, as K. bellardii). Another addition to K. capillifolia complex is K. kashgarica Dickoré [Stapfia 39: 79 (1995), type: China, Xinjiang, Kunlun Shan, Tiznap, valley W Kudi, 4040 m, G. & S. Miehe 8471 (K, holotype, GOET, PE, isotypes)].