8. Kobresia pygmaea (C. B. Clarke) C. B. Clarke, Fl. Brit. India. 6: 696. 1894.
Hemicarex pygmaea C.B. Clarke in J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 20: 383. 1883.
Tight tuft-forming perennial, 20-50 mm. Rhizome short, erect, with tillers. Stem c. 0.5 mm diam, terete, grooved, smooth, grey-green. Leaves equalling stem or slightly longer; sheaths 10-20 mm, soft, grey or yellowish brown, finally disintegrating into fibres, margin of scarious side straight or shallowly concave; ligule 0.3 mm, scarious, slightly arched; blades c. 0.3 mm wide, thick with narrow adaxial side to channelled, grey-green, margins smooth or finely scabrous towards obtuse apex. Inflorescence an androgynous spike with 3-6 spirally arranged glumes, 2-6.5 x 1-2.5 mm; male flowers mostly 2, with two stamens, male glumes 2.2-2.6 mm, clasping, obtuse, dark brown; female flowers 2-4, glumes 2-2.5 mm, dark brown, mid-nerve area smooth with three nerves barely reaching rounded, narrowly scarious apex. Utricles 2.2-2.6 mm, 2-nerved, apex dark brown, narrowly scarious, basal part slightly suberous, margins fused c. 1 mm, with sterile, compressed, green rachilla, c. 1 mm. Stamens 2-3; stigmas 3. Nut 1.8-2 x 1-1.1 mm, obovoid, trigonous, apiculate, dark brown, glossy, almost smooth.
Syntypes: Ladak, ”in jugo Lanak”, T. Thomson; Kunawur, Jacquemont 1783; Sikkim, ”prope Momay et Kongra Lama”, J.D. Hooker (K).
Himalayan slopes, 12000-16000 ft; Distribution: From Hazara to Sikkim, Myanmar.
Record from Chitral, Stainton 2496 (Stewart 1972), is K. humilis. Description based on specimens by H. Smith (UPS) from China. “K. koelzii Kük. ex Ivanova” in Stewart (1972: 97) is nomen nudum; Ivanova (Bot. Zhurn. 24: 498, 1939) cites only a tentative label determination by Kükenthal in a specimen (in LE) under K. pygmaea. Furthermore, according to Dickoré (Stapfia 39: 83, 1995), the duplicate specimen of Koelz 2246b in K contains Carex sagaensis Y.C. Yang and C. microglochin, and another duplicate in W contains K. pygmaea and Carex microglochin.
Description based on Ladygin 10 from Tibet.