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     (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

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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


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