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Pakistan | Family List | Pakistan V. 206 | Cyperaceae | Carex

56. Carex nivalis Boott, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 20: 136. 1851; C.B.Clarke, l.c. 732. var. nivalis; R.R.Stewart, l.c. 80; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 277.

C. cinnamomea Boott in Trans. Linn. Soc. London 20: 136. 1851. C. griffithii Boott, l.c. 20: 138. 1851. C. oliveri Boeck. in Flora 63: 455. 1880;. C. gilesii Nelmes in Kew Bull.: 306. 1939. C. luteo-brunnea Nelmes, l.c.: 308. 1939. C. lepus-aestatis T. Koyama in Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 16: 167. 1956.

Tufted perennial, 30-60(-80) cm. Stem erect or base ascending, sharply trigonous, smooth, papillose, grey-green. Leaves c. 1/2 of stem length; sheaths 30-50 mm, wide and conspicuous, grey or yellowish-brown, sometimes reddish, margin of scarious side concave; ligule to 0.7 mm, arch shallow; blades 3-9 mm wide, flat, margins recurved, long acuminate, grey-green, both sides papillose near scabrous apex. Inflorescence sometimes of 1-2 male or to several gynecandrous spikes above, sometimes male and female flowers mixed in spikes, 2-4(-6) female spikes below, imbricate, long-pedunculate, lowest remote, drooping. Bracts shorter than their spike, with sheath to 40 mm. Male spikes 12-22 x 4-6 mm, closely imbricate; male glumes c. 4.5 x 1 mm, narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, acute or with mucro to 0.4 mm, dark reddish brown. Female spikes 20-50 x 4-8 mm, club-shaped; female glumes 3-5.6 mm, c. equalling utricle, narrowly oblong or ovate, acute or barbed arista to 1.3 mm, from dark reddish brown or almost black and with or without narrow scarious margin to light brown and with wide scarious margins; utricles 3-5.5 x 1.3-2.9 mm, ellipsoid to globose, flat, smooth or few bristles on lateral nerves, from dark reddish brown or almost black to light brown with wide colourless areas, beak 0.3-1 mm, cylindrical, truncate or oblique, smooth or with some barbs, as usually scarious. Stigmas 3. Nut 1.5-2.2 x 0.8-1.2 mm, incl. a to 0.3 mm style base, obovoid, trigonous, yellowish, very finely reticulate and papillose.

Fl. Per.: September.

Type: India, Uttar Pradesh, ”supra Dhunrao, versus fauces Montium Mana dictas, ad altitudinem 16000 ped.”, M.P. Edgeworth (K!).

Meadows and rocky areas above treeline to c. 5000 m.

The Carex nivalis complex is here treated collectively. Small characters used for distinguishing species within the complex are variable and not found to be correlated. For example, the terminal spike may be entirely male, gynecandrous or of mixed sexes. Shape, size and colour of utricles and glumes, as well as their relative length, are also variable. Egorova [in A. I. Vvedensky (ed.), Conspectus Florae Asiae Mediae 5: 6-98, 1976], however, accepts in USSR C. griffithii and C. nivalis as separate taxa, which may indicate that some of characters are regionally restricted; in addition, Egorova described a new species in the complex, C. tianschanica. At present recognition of subspecific or variatal taxa is considered premature. It should also be noted that the species occurs at very high altitudes and most specimens seen were immature.


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