Rhizomes not seen. Culms to 100 cm tall, 5-8 mm wide, 3-angled, scabrous on ridges. Leaf sheath pale green, 3-angled, glabrous, not winged; contraligule oblong, barbate; leaf blade 15-20 cm, glabrous, veins and margin scabrous. Involucral bracts leaflike, sheaths pale green; bractlets glumelike, long awned. Inflorescences paniculate, to 50 cm, with 9-11 lateral branches; branches 10-15 × 10-12 cm, spreading and distant, with many spikelets. Spikelets single, unisexual, blackish purple; basal spikelets female, apex obovate; apical spikelets male, oblong, apex truncate; female glumes ovate-oblong, 3-3.5 mm, midrib green, apex acuminate. Disk ca. 3 mm in diam., 3-lobed; lobes golden yellow with purple lines, semicircular, margins reflexed. Nutlet white, spherical, ca. 3 mm, puberulent, reticulation purplish brown, apex tipped. Fl. and fr. Aug.