Perennials, 50–110 cm tall, densely caespitose; rhizome very short-noded, 2–4 mm diam., up to 7 cm long. Stem erect, terete, 0.7–1.1 (–1.5) mm diam., medium green, shiny above and smooth when fresh; ridges usually 15–20, almost indistinct when fresh, distinct when dry; subepidermal sclerenchyma strands present; pith of astericiform cells, continuous; epidermis cells uniform. Cataphylls usually 3, tight or somewhat loose, not lax; upper cataphylls usually 9–14 cm long, with awnlike blade up to 5 mm long, green above, drying to stramineous, ±castaneous-brown to medium brown and dull to slightly shiny at base, smooth (not papillose) but distinctly veined; margins overlap within 2 cm of the apex; apex truncate to asymmetrical, with broad thin margins. Inflorescence pseudolateral, usually lax, strongly ascending; flowers many, solitary or upper ones short-pedicellate in arcuate rows; first bract erect, 10–17 cm long, with narrow sheath not constricted below. Bracteoles 0.8–1 mm long, broadly ovate, acuminate. Outer tepals 2–3.5 mm long, slightly exceeding inner tepals, all lanceolate, acuminate, dark castaneous-brown with green midrib. Stamens 3; anthers 0.5–0.7 mm long, about equalling filaments. Capsule 2 mm long, equalling or shorter than tepals, trigonous-obovoid, dark brown, unilocular, triseptate. Seeds ovoid, c. 0.7 × 0.3 mm long, pale brown; appendages absent.