T: Peru, Puno, Pisacoma, 4500 m, Apr 1831, Meyen s.n.; holo: B, probably destroyed; syn: BR, P, photo QCA.
Perennials forming dense hard cushions up to several meters in diam. Single plants 5–15 cm long, with ±regularly forked shoots, covered with shor, strictly distichous persistent stramineous or rarely dark brown wilted leaves, with only 2 or 3 most distal leaves green and projecting above the cushion. Leaves 1–2 cm long, inserted 1–2 mm apart; sheaths usually two thirds of entire leaf length, open, wide, V-shaped in T.S., with narrow and scarious margins, almost completely clasping the sheath of the leaf above; blade bluntly acute. Flowers in a subterminal leaf axil. Tepals subequal, 4.5–7.5 mm long. Staminate flowers on filiform pedicels 1–2 cm long. Stamens 2.0–3.5 mm long; anthers 1.8–3.0 mm long; filaments c. 0.2–0.3 mm long. Pistillate flowers hidden in the sheath of the supporting leaf, with only stigmas projecting above the shoot apex; style filiform, exceeding tepals; stigmas half as long as style. Gynophore elongating at fruit ripening, lifting the capsule slightly above the cushion. Capsule ellipsoid to ovoid, apically acute to slightly apiculate or obtuse, 5–7 × 2.5–3.5 mm, irregularly dehiscing, yellow-brown, unilocular. Seeds oblong, 1.0–1.5 × 0.5–1.0 mm, covered by the thick white outer seed-coat.