Perennials, 40–100 (–130) cm tall, caespitose; rhizome short, rarely to 5–6 cm, densely branched, 2–4 mm diam.; stolons absent. Stems sometimes bulbous-based, slightly compressed, 0.5–3.0 mm diam., smooth. Cataphylls absent; basal leaves 2–5 per stem; sheaths to 9 cm long; blade 10–30 (–45) cm long, 1–5 mm wide, flat, usually with prominent abaxial midrib and two distinct adaxial veins; cauline leaves similar to basal ones, distally shorter; auricles 0.5–1.0 (–3.0) mm long, rounded. Lower bract leaf-like, as long as or shorter than inflorescence; floral bracts lanceolate, acute, scarious, ±as long as tepals or shorter. Inflorescence compound, anthelate, 4–15 × 2–10 cm; main branches to 10 cm long, to 1 mm diam., of (5–) 10–40 (–200) ±hemispherical (1–) 3–9 (–20)-flowered heads 5–7 mm wide, stramineous to dark brown. Tepals unequal, ±brown with green midstripe; outer tepals lanceolate, obtuse to acute, (1.8–) 2.0–2.8 (–3.2) mm long, with margins scarious; inner tepals longer, lanceolate, 2.4–3.0 (–3.5) mm long, obtuse to acute, with margins scarious, inflexed and forming a little cap when young. Stamens 3, sometimes slightly exserted; anthers 0.3–1.0 (–1.2) mm long, shorter than to rarely ±equalling 1.0–1.5 (–2.5) mm filaments; style c. 0.1 (–0.3) mm long; stigmas 0.5–1.0 mm long. Capsule broadly ellipsoid, ±equalling perianth, apiculate, round in T.S., 2.0–2.5 mm long, 1.8–2.0 mm wide, 3-septate, dehiscing apically, dark brown, glossy. Seeds narrowly and obliquely ellipsoid, apiculate, 0.5–0.6 × 0.15–0.2 mm, reticulate, yellow-brown; appendages absent. 2n = 40, fide N.A.Harriman, in Á.Löve, Taxon 28: 406 (1979); 2n = 38, fide S.Snogerup, Bot. Not. 116: 150 (1963).