39. Kobresia squamiformis Y. C. Yang, Acta Biol. Plateau Sin. 2: 9. 1984.
夏河嵩草 xia he song cao
Kobresia setschwanensis Handel-Mazzetti subsp. squamiformis (Y. C. Yang) S. R. Zhang.
Rhizomes short, plants densely tufted. Basal sheaths persistent, brown, dull, not retaining dried leaf blades. Culms stiffly erect, obtusely trigonous, very short, 9-16 cm tall, ca. 0.8 mm in diam. Leaves basal, ca. as long as culms; blade erect, filiform, ca. 0.5 mm wide, margin involute. Inflorescence a dense spike, brown, cylindric, 1-1.5 × 0.3-0.5 cm, androgynous; lowest involucral bract glumelike, apex shortly aristate; spikelets usually all unisexual, terminal few male, lower ones female (occasionally with a single reduced male flower within prophyll). Male glumes brown, with yellowish green midvein, lanceolate, ca. 3.5 × 1.5 mm, apex rounded. Female glumes brown, with yellowish green midvein, ovate or oblong-ovate, 3-3.5 × 1.8-2.5 mm, papery, midvein broad, margin very narrowly hyaline, apex rounded. Prophylls brown, oblong, 3-3.8 × 1.2-1.5 mm, membranous, 2-keeled, keels smooth, margins free to base. Nutlets brown to dark brown, shiny, oblong-elliptic, trigonous, 2.3-2.5 × 1.3-1.6 mm, not beaked, not stipitate. Stigmas 3. Sterile rachilla of female spikelets much shorter than to subequaling nutlet, sometimes bearing a vestigial male glume. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
● Grassy slopes; 2900-3600 m. Gansu (Xiahe), E Qinghai (Zêkog).
This appears to form a link between Kobresia pygmaea and K. setschwanensis; it seems more logical to recognize it as a distinct species than as a slender subspecies of the latter, when it could equally well be made a robust subspecies of the former.