Perennials, 40–100 cm tall, densely caespitose; rhizome very short-noded. Stem leafless, terete, 1–2 mm thick; ridges 12–30, conspicuous, with subepidermal sclerenchyma strands coordinated with large vascular bundles; epidermis cells larger on the ridges; vascular bundles of two sizes in different rings; pith continuous of astericiform cells. Cataphylls mostly 3, with upper ones 5–15 (–20) cm long, usually light to dark reddish-brown, usually pale; uppermost cataphyll often with tiny awnlike blade. Inflorescence pseudolateral, dense or rarely of several clusters or diffuse; flowers numerous, usually densely clustered; lower bract usually 10–20 cm long, several times longer than inflorescence, with wide broadly scarious-margined sheath; bract often reflexed after fruit ripening. Bracteoles 1–1.5 mm long, ovate, acute, membranous. Tepals (2–) 2.5–4 mm long, with outer ones slightly longer, lanceolate, apiculate, ±greenish stramineous or light brown to castaneous-coloured with broad greenish central band, margin and membranous margin. Stamens 3 (–6); anthers 0.4–0.7 mm long, usually shorter than filaments. Style very short; stigmas 0.6–1 mm long. Capsule 2–2.5 mm long, c. equalling tepals, trigonous ovoid to subspheroid, retuse or rarely obtuse, with conical projection below a short mucro, unilocular, triseptate, light to dark brown. Seeds 0.5 mm long, obliquely ovoid, reticulate, brown, without appendages. 2n = 42, fide S.Snogerup, Bot. Not. 116: 146 (1963).