Perennials, 5–40 cm tall, rhizomatous, loosely caespitose. Rhizomes short-creeping to long-creeping, occasionally stoloniferous, 1–2 mm in diam., not swollen, with internodes to c. 1.5 cm or abbreviated. Cataphylls 1 or absent, stramineous to castaneous-brown, acute, with distinct scarious margins; blade short, thicker acicular. Basal leaves 0–1, 3–15 cm. Cauline leaves 1–3, rarely absent, 3–15 cm long, with upper 1–2 often reaching inflorescence and uppermost leaf sometimes suberect to erecto-patent seemingly as a stem continuation, terete, perfectly septate (septa not very distinct externally), unitubular; tip subulate; sheaths lax, with broad margins; auricles 1.0–1.2 mm long, rounded to acute, membranous or scarious. Lower bract leaf-like, green to castaneous, lanceolate to terete, 1–2.4 cm long, shorter than to longer than the inflorescence, erect; other bracts castaneous, lanceolate, 2.5–3 mm long. Inflorescence a single head (rarely a cluster of two heads), 0.5–1.6 cm long; heads spheric (to semiglobose), 12–60-flowered, 4.5–15 mm in diam. Tepals unequal to subequal, lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate, dark purplish brown to black with indistinct dark castaneous margins, acute, with mucro subulate; inner tepals 2.3–4.3 mm long; outer tepals 2.4–4.9 mm long. Stamens 6, not exserted; anthers (0.6–) 1.1–1.7 mm long; filaments 0.6 (–1.7) mm long; style 0.5–0.7 mm long; stigmas 1.0–1.5 mm long. Capsules unilocular, obovoid, 1.9–3.5 mm long, obtuse or rounded to truncate, with mucro c. 0.2 mm long, castaneous-brown, equalling or shorter than perianth. Seeds narrowly ellipsoid, 0.5–0.6 × 0.2–0.25 mm, apiculate, pale brown, distinctly striate and reticulate; appendages absent or minute, whitish. 2n = 80, fide L.Hämet-Ahti, Ann. Bot. Fenn. 8: 156 (1971); 2n = 40, fide R.L.Taylor & G.A.Mulligan, Fl. Queen Charlotte Is. 2: 44 (1968).