Perennials, 10–40 cm tall, caespitose or forming very dense stands of flowering and few non-flowering shoots; rhizome short-noded. Stem leafless except the first bract at base of peduncle, terete, c. 1 mm thick, smooth or with 10–15 inconspicuous ridges when dry; subepidermal sclerenchyma strands broad, outside, joining the largest vascular bundles; pith of cells with long irregular processes, ±evanescent and arachnoid in mature stems. Cataphylls 4–5; upper cataphyll 2–5 cm long; one or a few with a small awn-like blade. Non-flowering shoots also with several cataphylls and 1 (–2) stem-like leaves. Leaf 1, stem-like, erect, inconspicuously canaliculate at base, with a ±broad sheath, exceeding the inflorescence. Inflorescence appearing apical because of the up to 3 (–6) cm long peduncle, dense, headlike; flowers 5–15. Bracteoles short, broadly ovate, obtuse. Tepals 4–8 mm long, equal, or inner ones slightly longer, subulate, dark castaneous brown to blackish, shining. Stamens 6; anthers 1.8–2.5 mm long, 2–4× as long as filaments; style 1.5–2.5 mm long; stigmas 4.5–6.5 mm long, erect, purple. Capsule 3–4 mm long, shorter than or equalling tepals, trigonous-ovoid to prismatic, obtuse to retuse, mucronate, trilocular, dark. Seeds 1 mm long, narrowly spindle-shaped, yellowish to reddish-brown; appendages 2, fusiform, white, 0.5–0.8 mm long. 2n>150 (S.Snogerup, unpubl), no exact count available.