Perennials, 50–100 cm tall; rhizome creeping, up to 8 mm in diam., with internode length variable; intravaginal shoots usually lacking. Stem usually 1.5–2 mm thick, rigid. Leaves (10–) 25–80 cm long, 1–3 mm in diam. Lower two bracts leaf-like, with broad sheaths, (7–) 10–25 (–40) cm long, including sheath 2.5–4 cm long, usually exceeding inflorescence; middle bracts with blade reduced to small mucro; bracts subtending heads shorter than flowers, amplexicaul, apiculate. Inflorescence (4–) 10–20 × (2–) 3–5 (–8) cm, usually lax, rarely contracted to one or a few large clusters, with 20–100 (–200) heads. Heads (1–) 2–6-flowered. Tepals with membranous margins, 3–4 mm long; outer tepals ±longer, ovate, cymbiform, acute, with mucro 0–0.3 mm long; inner tepals narrowly elliptic, with ±broader margins apically, obtuse. Stamens 6 (rarely 3), c. 2/3 as long as tepals; anthers 0.8–1.2 mm long, 1.5–2 (–2.5) times as long as filaments; style 1–1.5 mm long; stigmas 1–2 mm long. Capsule 2.5–3.5 mm long, equalling or slightly exceeding tepals, trigono-ovoid, obtuse or abruptly attenuate, with mucro 0.3–0.6 mm long, trilocular; seeds 60–100. Seeds 0.6–0.7 mm long, 0.8–1.2 mm including appendages, obliquely ovoid, c. 25-striate; appendages unequal, white. Figs 37, 43.