Perennial, (30–) 40–60 (–100) cm tall, densely caespitose; rhizome very short-noded. Stem leafless, terete, usually 1–2 mm thick, light green; ridges c. 20–30, conspicuous when dry; subepidermal sclerenchyma strands present; epidermis cells uniform; pith continuous, of astericiform cells. Cataphylls 3–4; upper cataphylls (4–) 10–15 (–20) cm long, with small awnlike blade, lax, pale brown to greenish above, reddish-brown and often shining and slightly scabrid at base. Inflorescence pseudolateral, 1–3 (–5) cm long, dense to loose; flowers numerous, solitary or loosely clustered. Lower bract (5–) 7–15 (–35) cm long, considerably exceeding inflorescence; sheath constricted below the inflorescence. Bracteoles ovate, c. 1.0–1.5 mm long, pale castaneous to scarious. Tepals 2–3 mm long; outer tepals usually slightly longer than inner ones, acuminate; inner tepals acute, all dark brown or deep castaneous-brown with greenish central band and narrow scarious margin. Stamens 3; anthers 0.5–0.7 mm long; filaments 0.5–0.6 mm long; style c. 0.1 mm long; stigmas 0.5–1.0 mm long. Capsule triseptate, 2–2.5 mm long, shorter than or about equalling tepals, trigonous oblong-obovoid to trigonous-oblong, slightly exceeding perianth, c. 2.0–2.7 mm long, obtuse or slightly retuse, shortly mucronate, dark olive-brown or castaneous-brown at apex. Seeds pale brown, 0.4–0.5 × c. 0.2 mm, obliquely obovoid, reticulate; appendages absent.
North American W coast from Queen Charlotte Island in British Columbia to near Santa Barbara in California. Reported to occur in Arizona but material not seen. 71: BRC. 73: ORE, WAS. 76: CAL.
71. BRITISH COLUMBIA: Loss Creek on road between Port Renfrew and Victoria, J.A.Calder & MacKay 30975 (UC); Upper Victoria Lake, near S end of Moreby Island, J.A.Calder & R.L.Taylor 39801 (MO). 73. OREGON: Boring, 18. Jul 1919, W.Suksdorf s.n. (WSU); Clatsop Co., at base of Onion Peak, K.L.Chambers 3338 & R.Rodin (WTU). WASHINGTON: Clallam Co., W of Port Angeles, P.F.Zika 16610 (PRA, WTU); King Co., Kirkland Lake, 20 Jun 1939, W.J.Eyerdam (WS); Jefferson Co., on trail to Hoh, I.C.Otis 1544 (WTU); Whatcom Co., Point Roberts, Benson Road, P.F.Zika 16572 (WTU). 76. CALIFORNIA: Marin Co., Hearts Desire, S shore of Tomales Bay, J.Ewan 8106 (POM); Humboldt Co., Big Lagoon, J.P.Tracy 6763 & H.E.Parks (WTU); San Mateo Co., W side of Route 1 near loop road to Pigeon Point, P.F.Zika 16478 (WTU).
Roadside ditches, boggy fields, open places in regenerating forests, mostly in lowlands in the vicinity of the coast.