Plants usually 10–50 (–80) cm tall. Cauline leaves 1–2, usually 5–25 (–40) cm long, (0.4–) 0.7–1.7 (–2.5) mm wide, usually 3–7× as long as their sheaths. Lower bracts usually 2–10 cm long. Inflorescence 2–10 (–15) cm long, c. 10–120-flowered. Tepals with central band ±green to castaneous, bordered dark castaneous-brown; margins broad, brownish-membranous. Anthers c. 1.2–1.7 mm long; filaments c. 0.4–0.5 mm long. Capsule c. 2.2–3.5 mm long. 2n = 84, fide S.Snogerup, Bot. Not. 116: 148 (1963).
Northernmost coasts of Scandinavia and European Russia; the reported occurrence in W Siberia and mountains of C Asia probably refers to plants seemingly intermediate between the type subspecies and subsp. atrofuscus. The eastern and southeastern limit imperfectly known: see the type subspecies for a note. 10: FIN, NOR. 14: RUN.
10. NORWAY: Troms, Vollan, 1955, T.Ahti (H); Nordkjosen, 1934, Mejland (O); Finnmark, Alta, 1884, R.E.Fridtz (O).
14. NORTH EUROPEAN RUSSIA: Murmansk District, Petsamo [Pechenga], Pummanki, Haminanperä, 1919, A.K.Cajander (H); Arkhargelsk, Solovetsk Is., 1882, C.A.Knabe (H); Karelia, Poyakonda, 11 Aug 1971, V.Vekhov 1 (MW).
Mostly coastal saline habitats, marshes.