Perennials, loosely caespitose, 15–30 cm tall; rhizome erect or ascending, sometimes short creeping, 1.5–2.5 mm diam., usually covered with brown 1.0–1.5 cm long scales inserted 0.5–1.0 cm apart. Stem 0.5–1.0 mm diam.; cataphylls 2–4 per stem, to 7 cm long, longitudinally ridged, light brown, with smooth red-brown margins; rudimentary blade to 4 mm long. Basal leaves 15–25 cm long, to 1 mm wide; tip acute; auricles c. 1 mm long, rounded; blades straight, stiff, ±flat, slightly trigonous or canaliculate, narrowly grooved along abaxial midrib. Flower bracts 2; lower bract long, herbaceous, 4 cm long; upper bract scale-like, to 1 cm long. Pedicel 1–3 mm long. Tepals equal, lanceolate, 6–7 mm long, dark reddish brown, gradually scarious toward the margin, obtuse, seemingly acuminate because of the involute scarious margins. Stamens c. 4.5 mm long; anthers c. 2.5–3.0 mm long, mucronate; filaments linear, flat, to 3 mm long, usually shorter than anthers; style 3.0–4.5 mm long; stigmas c. 2.5–3.0 mm long. Capsule c. 4 mm in diam., thick-walled, dark brown to black, shining. Seeds oblong to ovoid, c. 1.2–1.7 × 0.7–0.9 mm, dark, almost blackish, glossy with fine color pattern of longitudinal blackish rectangles. 2n=56, fide E.J.Beuzenberg & J.B.Hair, New Zealand J. Bot. 21: 15 (1983).