This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Scirpus nanus Spreng. Pug. 1: 4. 1815.
Eleocharis pygmaea Torr. Ann. Lye. N. Y. 3: 313. 1836.
Annual, roots fibrous, culms filiform, flattened, grooved, tufted, erect or ascending, 1'-2' high, bearing a scarious bladeless sheath near the base. Spikelet solitary, terminal, ovoid-oblong, rather acute, 3-8-flow-ered, i"-i 1/2" long, not subtended by a bract; scales ovate or lanceolate, pale green, the lower obtuse, the upper subacute: bristles about 6, downwardly barbed, mostly longer than the achene; stamens 3; style 3-cleft; achene oblong, 3-angled, pale, pointed at each end, smooth.
Muddy places in salt marshes, Cape Breton Island to Florida and Texas, and about salt springs in New York, Michigan and Minnesota. Also on the Pacific Coast of North America and on the coasts of Europe, northern Africa, Cuba and Mexico. July-Sept.
Perennial by filiform rootstocks, culms very slender, little tufted, 3-angled, grooved, leafless, 3'-10' tall, the upper sheath truncate. Spikelet terminal, solitary, not subtended by an involucral bract, oblong, compressed, 4-10-flowered, 2"-3" long, nearly 1" wide; scales brown with lighter margins and midvein, lanceolate, acuminate; bristles 2-6, hispid, as long as the achene or longer; stamens 3; style 3-cleft; achene obovoid-oblong, gray, rather abruptly beaked, its surface finely retriculated.
In wet soil. Anticosti to Maine, Ontario, western New York, Illinois, Minnesota, British Columbia and California, south in the Rocky Mountains to Colorado. Also in northern Europe and Asia. July-Oct.
Scirpus caespitosus L. Sp. PI. 48. 1753.
Perennial, culms smooth, terete, densely tufted, light green, erect or ascending, almost filiform, wiry, 4'-15' long. Basal sheaths numerous, membranous, imbricated, acuminate, the upper one bearing a short very narrow blade; spikelet solitary, terminal, few-flowered, ovoid-oblong, about 2" long, subtended by an involucral leaf or outer scale of about its own length; scales yellowish-brown, ovate, obtuse or subacute, deciduous; bristles 6, smooth, longer than the achene; stamens 3; style 3-cleft; achene oblong, smooth, 3-angled, brown, acute.
In bogs and on moist rocks, Greenland to Alaska, south to the mountains of New England, the Adirondack's, western New York, Illinois, Minnesota and British Columbia, in the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, and on the higher summits of the southern Alleghanies. Also in Europe and Asia. June-Aug.