E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lipocarpha micrantha (Vahl) G. Tucker
small-flowered lipocarpha (smallflower halfchaff sedge; small-flowered half chaff sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Terry McIntosh  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17280)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Lipocarpha micrantha
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This is a tiny, easily-overlooked, annual species of sedge that is found in North American, Central America, South America and Africa. In North America, it is found across the US, with some exceptions (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI) and in Canada, where it is reported from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec (USDA 2010). It is an emergent shoreline species. In BC, it has been found along sandy shorelines near Osoyoos (Douglas and Illingworth 1994) and on damp compacted, spring-wet, footpaths in back beach areas along Lake Okanagan where it occurs with awned Cyperus (Cyperus squarrosus).

Species Information

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Annual, tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems slender, 2-20 cm tall.
Blades about 0.5 mm wide, up to 10 cm long, resembling the stems.
Spikes mostly 1 to 3 per stem, unstalked, egg-shaped, 2-6 mm long, 1.5-2.5 mm wide; involucral bracts 2, the inner one absent or shorter, half the length of the inflorescence, the outer one widely lanceolate, the body 0.8-1 cm long, the awn 0.1-0.2 cm long, appearing as a continuation of the stem.
Scales firm, egg-shaped, 1-2 mm long, rather abruptly contracted to blunt short tips or short, stout awn tips up to about 0.5 mm long, achenes light brown, narrow, with convex faces, finely pitted, minutely and abruptly sharp-pointed, 0.5-0.7 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Sandy lakeshores in the steppe zone; rare in SC BC, known only from Osoyoos Lake; disjunct E to ON and S to ME, MA, PA, NC, FL, MS, TX, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Hemicarpha micrantha (Vahl) Pax
Hemicarpha micrantha var. aritstula
Hemicarpha micrantha var. minor (Schrad.) Friedland
Scirpus micranthus Vahl
Scirpus micranthus var. minor (Schrad. ex Roemer & J.A. Schultes) Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

USDA 2010. Lipocarpha micrantha page. USDA Plants Database. United States Department of Agriculture. Available Online.

General References