Plants usually 35–80 cm tall, usually forming dense stands, or in loose rows; rhizome 2–7 mm in diam.; sometimes with nodes up to 2 cm long. Cataphylls 3–4, usually to 5–10 (–15) cm long, abaxially dull to slightly glossy, yellowish-stramineous distally; middle part usually castaneous to yellowish brown, proximally yellow-brown to castaneous, ±glossy; adaxial side yellowish-silvery, glossy; upper cataphyll with awn-like blade to c. 1.5 mm long. Stem ±paler green, terete, c. 0.8–1.5 (–2.0) mm in diam.; pith initially of perfectly astericiform cells. Lower bract c. 3–17 cm long. Inflorescence usually diffuse, rarely condensed, 1–3 (–6) cm long, 5–20 (–25)-flowered; main branches often flexuose, usually 0.3–0.5 mm in diam. Bracteoles ovate, acute, to c. 1.5 mm, castaneous-brown at base, distally ±scarious to pale brownish. Tepals subequal, lanceolate. Outer tepals 3.3–4.4 mm long, with central band greenish to pale brown, bordered blackish to dark castaneous-brown; margins usually broad, membranous. Inner tepals subacute, 3.1–3.9 mm long. Anthers 1.3–1.6 (–2.0) mm long, 3–4× as long as 0.4–0.6 mm filaments; style 0.9–1.2 mm long; stigmas c. 1.5 mm long. Capsule narrowly oblong-ovoid, subtrigonous, 3.1–4.0 mm long, ±equalling perianth, castaneous-brown to dark castaneous-brown, shining, ±acute and mucronate; mucro 0.3–0.6 mm long. Seeds 0.7–0.8 × 0.4–0.45 mm; outer seed coat ±loose, faintly reticulate. 2n = 80, fide N.A.Harriman & D.Redmond, Rhodora 78: 731 (1976).