Perennials, densely caespitose; shoots intravaginal; rhizome abbreviated, inconspicuous. Lower two bracts leaf-like, pungent, with large sheaths; middle bracts with broad amplexicaul base; bracts below heads non-herbaceous, amplexicaul, ovate, light brown, pointed. Inflorescence lax, of various forms, with 8–200 heads, with usually even upper bracts possessing small laminas. Flowers light brown. Tepals equal or subequal, oblong with broad hyaline margins; outer tepals with small distal scarious wings; inner tepals with prominent scarious distal auricles, notched; tepals and bracts usually brown to reddish brown, punctulate-striulate. Stamens 6, 3/4–4/5 as long as tepals. Capsule 2.8–4 (–4.5) mm long, ovoid to spheroidal, light to dark brown; apex conical to obtuse; seeds 40–75. Seeds obliquely ovoid, c. 20–25-striate; seed-coat distinct.
Capsule 2.5–4 mm, with 25–75 seeds; apex conical to pyramidal; if capsule obtuse, inflorescence of several separate dense groups of heads; Capsule pale (rarely dark) brown; apex conical to obtuse.
From Greece, Aegean area and Turkey to N Iran, Caucasus and Turkmenistan. Two subspecies are known.