Description from Flora of China
Hemicarex pygmaea C. B. Clarke, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 20: 383. 1883; Kobresia microstachya K. V. Ivanova; K. pygmaea var. filiculmis Kükenthal.
Plants usually extremely densely tufted, forming turf or cushions. Basal sheaths persistent, brown or pale brown, dull, not retaining dried leaf blades. Culms stiffly erect, obtusely trigonous, very short, (0.4-)1-10 cm tall, ca. 0.5 mm in diam. Leaves basal, ca. as long as culms; blades erect, filiform, 0.3-0.5 mm wide, margin involute. Inflorescence a dense ovoid spike, brown, 0.3-10 × 0.1-0.3 cm, androgynous; lowest involucral bract glumelike, apex sometimes shortly aristate; all spikelets unisexual, terminal spikelets male, lower ones female (occasionally with a sterile glume within prophyll). Male glumes brown, oblong-lanceolate, ca. 4 × 1.8 mm, membranous. Female glumes brown, with yellowish green to green midvein, ovate or oblong-ovate, 2-3.5 × 2-2.5 mm, papery, midvein broad, margin narrowly hyaline, apex acute or obtuse. Prophylls brown, oblong or elliptic, 2-2.5 × 1-1.2 mm, membranous, 1- or 2-keeled, keels smooth or slightly scabrid, margins free to base, sometimes overlapping, apex truncate. Nutlets brown to dark brown, shiny, obovoid, trigonous, 1.5-2 × ca. 1 mm, very shortly beaked and stipitate. Stigmas 3. Fl. and fr. May-Sep.
Dry and open grassy places, wet alpine meadows, turf in wet habitats, rocky slopes, on sand and gravel beside rivers; 3100-5600 m. Gansu, Hebei, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, ?Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India (Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand), Kashmir, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan].