1. Eriophorum scheuchzeri Hoppe, Bot. Taschenb. 104. 1800; C.B.Clarke in Hook.f., l.c. 664; R. R. Stewart, l.c. 95. 1972.
E. altaicum Meinsh., Acta Horti Petrop. 18,3: 267. 1900; E. scheuchzeri Hoppe subsp. altaicum (Meinsh.) N. Bondareva, Fl. Sibiriae 3: 15. 1990.
Perennial, 10-30 cm. Rhizome with long stolons. Stem 1-1.5 mm diam., terete to subterete, deeply grooved, smooth or finely papillose, basal part often ascending with 1-2 nodes in loer parts of stem. Leaves basal, but 1-2 reduced cauline blades present; sheaths up to 50 mm, soft, cauline shaeths slightly inflated, mouth oblique; blades up to 10 cm long, up to 2 mm wide, smooth, unifacial or upper surface a narrow groove. Inflorescence a head with numerous tightly overlapping glumes; finally 25-35 mm diam., globose, sometimes wider than high; glumes 2.5-3.5 mm, narrowly triangular, acute, lowest 1-2 (-5) mm, widely clasping, obtuse, midnerve not reaching apex, blackish to dark brownish grey, margins widely scarious. Perianth bristles finally up to 25 mm long, white to yellowish white, smooth: stigmas 3(-4); anther c. 0.8 mm. Nut 1.7-2 x 0.5-0.7 mm, narrowly obovoid, compressed trigonous, often slightly curved, brown to dark brown, almost smooth, mat.
Type: From Austria.
Montain slopes; Distribution: Circum-polar and montane species.
The records from N. Pakistan and Kashmir are isolated. Plants recorded from an area from Yakutia to Kirghisia have been named E. scheuchzeri subsp. altaicum, but this is not known from Tadjikistan and China. The status of subsp. altaicum and the plants from Pakistan require further study.