Perennials, c. 20–90 cm tall, densely caespitose; rhizome short; stolons absent. Stem ±terete, smooth, erect. Cataphylls 0–2, to c. 5–10 cm long, loose, pale greyish-brownish, often with pinkish tinge; margins membranous, broad, scarious, auriculate; blade reduced to mucro. Basal leaves 2–5, light brown, up to 45 cm long, c. 1–3 mm wide, flat. Cauline leaves 1–3, c. 8–15 cm long, to 2 mm wide; margins papillose-serrulate; sheaths with narrow scarious margins; auricles oblong, obtuse to truncate, c. 1.2–2.5 mm long, scarious. Lower bract ±stramineous to greenish, to c. 4 cm long, with a filiform apex, much shorter than inflorescence. Inflorescence ±loose, usually 7–20 cm long, of paniculate appearance, of c. 5–25 obconical 2–5 (–7)-flowered pale heads on usually branched peduncles of variable length. Capitulum bracts scarious, to c. 4 mm long. Tepals ±equal or inner slightly longer, lanceolate, 4.2–5.5 mm long; outer tepals acute; inner tepals subacute or subobtuse and mucronate; central band smooth, distinctly veined, pale green, becoming pale castaneous or ±stramineous; margins very broad, scarious. Stamens 6; anthers 1.7–2.6 mm long; filaments 0.5–0.9 mm long; style 0.8–1.5 mm long; stigmas to 3.0–3.5 mm long. Capsule trilocular, narrowly obovoid, c. 3.4–4.5 mm long including a mucro 0.4–0.7 mm long on a truncate top, pale brownish, shorter than or ±equalling perianth. Seeds ±ovoid, c. 0.4–0.6 × 0.2–0.3 mm, brown, distinctly regularly reticulate; appendages absent.
Confined to SW United States (Arizona, Nevada and California). 76: ARI, CAL, NEV. Occurrence in NW Mexico is possible.
76. CALIFORNIA: E Mohave Desert, New York Mtns, Keystone Spring, P.A.Munz 13864 (UC); Los Angeles Co., San Gabriel Mtns, Chilao Flat, T.Ross 5852 (UC); Los Angeles Co., San Gabriel Mtns, Chilao Flat, T.Ross 5775 (UC); Los Angeles Co., Arroyo Secco, Switzer’s Camp, 1000 m, 4 Jul 1929, Bryan (UC).
Wet sandy or gravelly sites along streams, marshy ground, up to c. 2500 m.