1. Isolepis setacea (L.) R. Br., Prodr. 222. 1810; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 48.
Scirpus setaceus L., Sp. Pl. 1: 49. 1753; C.B.Clarke, l.c. 654; R.R.Stewart l.c. 103; Schoenoplectus setaceus (L.) Palla, in E. Hallier & A. Brand (eds.), W.D.J. Koch, Syn. Fl. Germ., ed. 3, 3: 2538. 1905; Madalski, Fl. Polon. Terr. Adiac. Icon. 3(1): 258. 1979; Uniyal & al., Cyperaceae Uttar Pradesh: 38 1997.
Annual, forming small tussocks, 2.5-20 cm. Roots fibrous. Stem 0.2-0.3 mm diam., terete, smooth, green or yellowish green. Leaves reduced, usually with one complete leaf at stem base; sheaths to 20 mm, lowest bladeless, scarious, often reddish; longest much overtopping lower ones, yellow green or lower part often reddish, mouth wide, scarious, oblique; blades 1-20 mm, as wide as stem, channelled, smooth, apex obtuse. Inflorescence 1-2 sessile spikes; bract as long as spike or to 10 mm, basal part (sheath) scarious, keeled, often reddish brown. Spikes 2-5 mm, globose or ovoid, with up to c. 30 glumes; when two spikes, lower with obtuse, glume-like prophyll; glumes 1.3-1.5 mm, cymbiform, keeled, midnerve strong, at first green, smooth, barely reaching obtuse apex, sides with 3-5 fine nerves, reddish brown or sometimes colourless, scarious. Stamens 2; stigmas 3. Nut 0.7-0.9 x 0.5-0.6 mm, with wide stipe and narrow beak c. 0.1 mm, obovoid, unequally bi-convex, brown, sometimes whitish, trabeculate with pronounced longitudinal ribs.
Fl. & Fr.: June - July.
Type: "Habitat in Europae litoribus maritimis".
By water courses, in boggy places with moving water; 700-3200 m; Distribution: Europe, N Africa, mountains of E Africa, southern Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, W China, in SW Asia from NW Iran to Pakistan and east to Sikkim; introduced to western N America and Tasmania.
The species is readily distinguished as small annual with small pseudolateral inflorescence and the lowest bract only slightly longer than the inflorescence; it also has leaf blades resembling the stem, but attached to sheaths surrounding stem base.