(Buchenau) Cockayne & Laing, Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 43: 366 (1911)
Perennials (5–) 9–20 (–28) cm long, densely hairy, densely caespitose; rhizome short, vertical, ±many-headed; stolons absent. Basal leaves short, usually 3–6 cm long, (1–) 2–3 mm wide, usually inrolled, narrow, whole, or upper two thirds of abaxial surface with thick white tomentum; cauline leaves absent or 1 (–2), with blade reduced, filiform, 1–2 cm long; sheath to 2 cm long. All leaves with subulate acute tip; margins ±smooth. Lower bract ovate, straw-brown, membranous, c. 5 mm long, similar to middle bracts. Inflorescence erect, cylindrical to ±ovoid, densely congested, spike-like, usually 0.8–2.0 × 0.6–1.0 cm, of 1–5 few-flowered clusters. Bracteoles ovate, scarious, 1.5–2.0 mm long, ciliate near apex. Tepals ±entire, subequal, rarely ±denticulate near apex, (1.3–) 1.6–1.9 (–2.1) mm long, acuminate; lower middle part dark castaneous brown; margins broad, white-scarious. Stamens 3 (4–6); anthers 0.4–0.5 (–0.7) mm long; filaments 0.3–0.5 mm long; style c. 0.3 mm long; stigmas c. 0.5 mm long. Capsule obovoid, equalling or slightly exceeding perianth, ±obtuse to subacute, dark brown to black; capsule segments 1.5–2.0 × c. 1.1–1.3 mm. Seeds pale castaneous, 0.8–0.9 mm long, c. 0.6 mm wide; appendage minute, appearing as a paler basal fibrillate swelling to 0.1 mm long. 2n=48 [48CL], fide H.Nordenskiöld, New Zealand J. Bot. 4: 186 (1966); 2n=44, fide J.B.Hair, New Zealand J. Bot. 5: 18 (1967).