Perennials c. 10–45 cm tall, sparsely hairy; rhizome ascending to erect; stolons usually long, ascending. Stems erect, often slightly curved near the top (in the opposite direction to the nodding inflorescence). Basal leaves 3–15 cm long, usually 2–4 mm wide; cauline leaves usually 2, usually in upper half of stem, 1–5 (–11) cm long; all leaves acute, with papillose-serrulate margins. Bracts all scarious; lower bract membranous or castaneous (purplish), broadly lanceolate, c. 1 cm long, fimbriate-ciliate. Inflorescence a terminal spike like head, dark (reddish) castaneous brown, 1–4 × 0.5–1.2 cm, usually of 2–5 clusters, congested to slightly interrupted, suberect, if nodding then only the inflorescence not the upper part of stem. Bracteoles 1.5–2.0 mm long, usually castaneous-membranous. Tepals dark, reddish-blackish, subequal, glabrous, usually 2.7–3.7 mm long, acuminate. Stamens 3; anthers 0.4–0.5 mm long; filaments 0.8–1.0 mm long; style 0.1–0.2 mm long; stigmas c. 0.5–0.8 mm long. Capsule oblong-ovoid, ±trigonous above, paler castaneous; capsule segments 1.6–1.9 × 1.0–1.2 mm, finely rugose. Seeds ellipsoidal, paler brown, 0.9–1.0 mm long, 0.5–0.6 mm wide; appendage c. 0.1 mm long, fibrillate.