Dense perennials, cushion-forming, 5–10 cm tall. Stem erect, much branched, covered with old sheaths, with living leaves only in distal part. Leaves imbricate, imperfectly distichous; sheaths brownish, 10–50 mm long, 4–7 mm wide; auricles asymmetrical, ligulate, membranous; blade narrowly cylindrical, rigid, surface minutely striate, 10–15 mm long, 1.0–1.2 mm wide; tip prickly. Bracteoles unequal; lower bracteoles subacute, 4–5 mm long, shortly mucronate; upper bracteoles subobtuse, c. 2.5 mm long. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual; perfect flowers on short peduncle, scarcely overtopping leaves; tepals acute, narrowly lanceolate, brownish-purplish with scarious margins, subequal, c. 5 mm long. Stamens 6; anthers c. 2.5 mm long, mucronulate; filaments 0.5–1.0 mm long. Unisexual flowers similar to the perfect ones, lacking one of the fertile whorls. Capsule hard-walled, ovoid, brownish, 8–10 mm long. Seeds obovoid, reticulate, whitish, 0.7–0.9 mm long.