Perennials, 20–100 cm tall, caespitose; rhizome short, densely branched, 1–4 mm in diam., with sparse scarious scales; stem 0.5–4 mm in diam., terete. Cataphylls 0–2 per stem, to 15 cm long, green to reddish, with distinct scarious margins; sub-basal leaves 1–3. Cauline leaves 1–2 per stem, (5–) 10–50 cm long, 0.7–4 mm in diam., ±terete, perfectly septate, unitubular; sheaths (1.5–) 5–15 cm long; margins scarious; auricles narrow, obtuse, 0.5–5 mm long. Lower bract usually sheath-like, rarely leaf-like, to 5 (–12) cm long, much shorter than inflorescence; capitulum bracts scarious, to 3 mm long, usually not contrasting tepal colour. Inflorescence anthelate, decompound, (3–) 5–20 (–30) × 2–15 cm, of (3–) 7–50 (–100) conical to globose, (3–) 10–35-flowered heads 5–10 mm wide. Tepals unequal; outer tepals longer, concave, soft, scarious towards the margins, 2.0–3.5 (–5.0) mm long, lanceolate, acute, stramineous-brown to brown. Stamens 6; anthers 0.3–0.7 mm long; filaments linear, c. 1 mm long; style c. 0.2–0.3 mm long; stigmas c. 1.0 mm long. Capsule ellipsoid to obovoid, unilocular, obtuse to bluntly acute, 2.0–3.5 mm long, subequalling perianth, stramineous-brown to blackish; valves inflexed at apex. Seeds ellipsoid, apiculate, 0.4–0.5 × c. 0.2 mm, yellow-brown, reticulate; appendages absent.