Perennials usually 35–75 cm tall, loosely caespitose to caespitose, densely ciliate; rhizome horizontal to ascending, branched; stolons usually present, ascending. Basal leaves numerous, usually 12–18 (–30) cm long, width variable but ranging from (3–) 4–5 (–6) mm; cauline leaves usually 4–5, to c. 25 cm long, with the upper ones often overtopping inflorescence. All leaves with acute tip; margins papillose-serrulate. Lower bracts herbaceous, of variable length, usually overtopping inflorescence, less often shorter. Inflorescence rich, decompound, ±anthelate; main branches usually numerous, with secondary branches each bearing ±dense or lax anthela of (2–) 3–6 (–8)-flowered clusters. Bracteoles ±ovate, subglabrous to ciliate, usually 1.0–1.5 mm long. Tepals glabrous, subequal with inner longer by c. 0.5 mm, ±lanceolate, (2.0–) 2.3–3.8 (–4.2) mm long. Stamens 6; anthers 1.0–1.8 mm long; filaments 0.3–0.6 mm long; style 0.8–1.2 mm long; stigmas 0.6–c. 1.1 mm long. Capsule oblong-ovoid, gradually acuminate, mucronate, ±castaneous-brown, ±shining; capsule segments 2.2–2.6 mm long including mucro 0.2–0.5 mm long and 1.1–1.3 mm wide. Seeds ellipsoidal, ±dark brown, usually 1.2–1.4 mm long including apical protuberance c. 0.2 mm long and 0.7–0.8 mm wide; appendage indistinct, c. 0.1 mm, fibrillate.
Tepals white or brownish with purplish or coppery colour/tinge, (2.0-) 2.3-3.2 mm long; Style 0.8-1.2 mm long; stigmas less than 1.5 mm long.
Europe, from the Netherlands, France and N Spain throughout C Europe to Greece, Turkey-in-Europe and W Russia. Introduced to N and E Europe and E North America, often naturalized.