1. Trichophorum pumilum (Vahl) Schinz & Thellung, Vierteljahr. Naturf. Ges. Zürich. 66: 265. 1921; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 50.
Scirpus pumilus Vahl, Enum. Pl. 2: 243. 1805. Eriophorella pumila (Vahl) Tan in P.H. Davis, Fl. Turk. 9:68. 1985. Baeothryon pumilum (Vahl) A. & D. Löve in Univ. Colo. Stud., Biol. 17: 14. 1965; Trichophorum atrichum Palla in Bot. Jahrb. 10: 296. 1888; Madalski, Fl. Polon. Terr. Adiac. Icon. 3,1: fig. 242a. 1979.
Perennial, 4-25 cm, forming small tufts. Rhizome short, ascending, emitting tillers and short stolons. Stem c. 0.5 mm diam. or less, trigonous above, almost terete below, smooth, greyish green. Sheaths 10-40 mm, from yellow brown to dark brown, semi-glossy, mouth margin straight; ligule c. 0.2 mm, hardly arched; blades mostly less than 20 mm, c. 0.3 mm wide, more or less appressed against stem, thick, channelled, margins smooth or finely scabrous, apex obtuse, slightly turgid, smooth. Spike 3-4 mm, fusiform or, at fruiting stage, globose; lowest glume 2.3-4 mm, erect, to c. equalling spike and inflorescence appearing lateral, mid-nerve strong, apex often obtuse and slightly turgid as in basal leaves, sides nerveless, yellow brown or brown, margins scarious; second glume sterile; upper 3-4 glumes fertile, 1.5-2.7 mm, cymbiform, mid-nerve mostly not or barely reaching apex, sides yellow brown or brown, margins widely scarious, often shed before nuts. Anther 1.5-1.7 mm. Nut 1.5-1.8 x 1-1.3 mm, ellipsoid or obovoid, trigonous, plano-convex, with abruptly contracted base and conical apex, finely reticulate, glossy, dark or black brown.
Fl. Per.: May - July.
Holotype: [Switzerland] "Helvetia", Colsmann (C-Vahl; microfiche!).
Moist alpine meadows, 2000-4000(-4900) m; Distribution: Sporadically in Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, from S and SW Siberia south to Tadjikistan, along the Himalayas east to Nepal and W China; also in N. America [Scirpus pumilus Vahl subsp. rollandii (Fern.) Raym.].
Easily recognized as small stoloniferous perennial with short leaf blades; in first sight it resembles Eleocharis quinqueflora, but the nuts are different; E. acicularis is much more slender and in Eleocharis leaf blades are lacking.