37. Cyperus pygmaeus Rottb., Descr. et Iconum. 20. 1773; Boiss., Fl. Or. 5: 368. 1882; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 132.
C. michelianus (L.) Del. subsp. pygmaeus (Rottb.) Aschers. & Graebn., Syn. Fl. Mittleur. 2,2: 273. 1904. Juncellus pygmaeus (Rottb.) C.B. Clarke in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 596. 1893. Dichostylis pygmaea (Rottb.) Nees in Linnaea 9: 289. 1835; Grossheim. Fl. Kavkaza, 2: tabl. 2, fig. 13. 1940. Haines & Lye, Sedges and Rushes of E Africa: figs. 532 & 533. 1983.
Tufted, annual, 3-22 cm. Roots fibrous. Stem 0.7-1.2 mm diam., trigonous, smooth. Leaves to as long as stem; sheaths to 50 mm, wide, soft, grey-brown or often reddish, mouth margin concave or almost straight; blades to 10 cm long, 1.5-2.5 mm wide, grey green, flat or folded, keeled, margins often recurved, smooth or scabrous, apex trigonous, acute, scabrous. Inflorescence 7-17 mm diam., a regularly globose head of 5-9 globose, sessile, spirally arranged partial inflorescences, tightly pressed together and separately indistinguishable; 4-7 bracts foliose, up to 70 mm, much exceeding length of inflorescence, first erect, finally reflexed; partial inflorescences formed by 10-40 sessile spikes, tightly spirally arranged; spikes 2.5-3.5 x 0.8-1.4 mm, narrowly obovoid, compressed, with 20-28 glumes, glume-like bract long-awned, glumes distichously arranged, 1.4-1.6 mm, narrowly cymbiform, mid-nerve green, prominent, raised, 1-3 nerved on both sides, margins scarious, brownish towards the apex. Flowers mostly bisexual; stamens 1-0; stigmas 2. Nut 1-1.1 x 0.4 mm, ellipsoid, lenticular or plano-convex, not winged, yellow-brown, papillose and finely reticulate.
Fl. Per.: June - September.
Type: "Inter semina pro horto nostro a Domino Königio e Regione Tranqvebarense missus.".
Alluvial river shores, rice fields; Distribution: From Greece, Turkey, Israel to Egypt and Algeria, tropical Africa, S to Namibia, Madagascar, Mauritius; in Asia in Iraq, Azerbaidjan (Talysh), Pakistan, Kashmir (C.B.Clarke, l.c.; R.R.Stewart, l.c.) India and Sri Lanka and E to Taiwan, Philippines, Malesia and Australia.
Cyperus pygmaeus is treated here at specific level and distinct from C. michelianus (L.) Link, following Kern (in Fl. Malesiana, 1974); see also discussion in Reinwardtia 2: 120. 1952. However, taxonomic treatment of the two allopatric taxa is unstable [cf. Fl. Turkey 9:40. 1985; Raynal in Adansonia 2,6: 586-588. 1967]. The most significant difference is morphological: glumes being spirally arranged in C. michelianus and distichous in C. pygmaeus; there may be other differences, e.g. in number of stamens and size of nuts. The northern C. michelianus and the southern C. pygmaeus meet in Pakistan and N. India; in southern India and Sri Lanka only C. pygmaeus occurs.