Perennials, c. 15–35 (–65) cm tall, loosely caespitose; rhizome creeping, c. 2 mm in diam., with internodes long. Stem compressed, two-edged, c. 1.5–3.0 mm wide. Cataphylls 1–3, c. 2.5–8 cm long, pale brownish to purplish, gradually changing to cauline leaves. Cauline leaves (2–) 3–5 (–6); blade c. 10–15 (–22) cm long, 2.5–4.5 (–6.0) mm wide, gradually narrowing in acute tip, pluritubular, imperfectly septate; sheaths loose, with distinct membranous margin; auricles absent. Lower bract sometimes submembranous, to 1 cm long, or often leaf-like, c. 2–6 cm long, longer than inflorescence. Inflorescence composite, of 1–2 (rarely 4–10) heads; heads globose or ±lobulate, dark, many-flowered, subsessile or shortly pedunculate, 0.8–1.1 cm wide. Capitulum bracts brownish-membranous with distinct midrib, 2–3 mm long, ovate-lanceolate. Tepals ±equal, or outer slightly longer, narrowly lanceolate, with outer acuminate and inner acute-acuminate, (2.4–) 2.7–3.2 (–3.6) mm long, dark castaneous-brown; margins not visible (very narrow in the inner tepals). Stamens 3; anthers 0.5–0.7 mm long; filaments 0.6–0.9 mm long; style c. 0.3–0.4 mm long; stigmas c. 1 mm long. Capsule unilocular, narrowly oblong-trigonous, subacute, with c. 0.2 mm mucro, c. 2.5–3.2 mm long, usually exceeding or ±equalling perianth, dark castaneous-brown to dark brown. Seeds pale brown, ±ellipsoid, distinctly apiculate on both ends, c. 0.45–0.60 × 0.20–0.25 mm, distinctly longitudinally reticulate. 2n = 40, fide S.Snogerup, Bot. Not. 116: 151 (1963); R.L.Taylor & G.A.Mulligan, Fl. Queen Charlotte Is. 2: 43 (1968); N.A.Harriman & D.Redmond, Rhodora 78: 733 (1976).