24. Cyperus atkinsoni C.B. Clarke, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 21: 109. 1884; in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 603. 1893; Ill. Cyper.: tab. VIII, figs. 4-6. 1909; R.R.Stewart, l.c. 86. 1972; Bhandari, Fl. Indian Desert: fig. 131. 1990; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 116.
Caespitose perennial or, possibly annual, 10-20 cm, in small tussocks. Rhizome producing tillers, roots glabrous. Stem c. 1 mm diam., obtusely trigonous, smooth, grey-green, stem base swollen. Leaves often c. half of stem length; sheaths 20-25 mm, rather soft, grey or yellowish brown, disintegrating into fibres, mouth margin concave; ligule 0; blades c. 2 mm wide, folded or channelled, falcate or curved, grey green, margins scabrous, apex long attenuate, curved or curled, slightly scabrous. Inflorescence a multiple spike, 15-30 mm diam.; bracts 2-3 foliose, longer than inflorescence, up to 70 mm, narrow, apex often curled; primary branches 1-3, up to 15 mm; tubular prophyll up to 6 mm, two-keeled; cluster of spikes up to 20 mm, of 3-10 digitately arranged spikes; short secondary branches occasional; spikes 6-18 x 2-4 mm, with 10-30 glumes; glume-like bract c. 2.5 mm; glume-like prophyll 2-2.3 mm, apex bidentate or rounded; rachis c. 0.4 mm wide, flat, internodes c. 0.5 mm, not winged; glumes 3-3.6 mm, cymbiform, rather soft, mid-nerve slightly keeled, mucro 0.3-0.5 mm, often recurved, sides brown, with 4-5 nerves, margins scarious. Stamens 3, anthers c. 1.5 mm. Nut 1.5-2.5 x 0.8-1.2 mm, obovoid, trigonous, plano-convex or adaxially concave, grey-brown, finely reticulate.
Fl. Per.: February - May.
Type: Kashmir, Bhimpur, Atkinson 24196 (K!).
On sandy, alkaline soil; Distribution: Pakistan and NW India; also W India (Cooke 1908).
T. Cooke (Fl. Pres. Bomb. 3: 378. 1908) and Bhandari (l.c. 330. 1990) correctly drew attention to the glabrous roots of C. atkinsonii. It is related to the Arabian C. jeminicus Rottb. (see Mandaville, Flora of eastern Saudi Arabia 1990: 390), but it is taller and the inflorescence larger. The relationship requires further study. Record by Maheshwari from ”upper Gangetic Plain”(in Fl. Delhi 1963: 351) is doubtful; he claims rootlets to be ”woolly”. Records by R.R.Stewart (1972) require confirmation.