Perennials. Culms to more than 1 m tall, ca. 6 mm wide, subcylindric to sometimes slightly 3-angled, shiny, glabrous. Leaf sheath yellow with purple lines, tightly embracing culm, 4-6 cm, thinly leathery, not winged, sometimes pilose, apical ones often overlapped; contraligule purple, semicircular, margin ciliate, cilia ca. 1 mm; leaf blade linear, ca. 30 × 0.6-0.8 cm, thinly leathery, slightly scabrous, glabrous, apex attenuate. Involucral bracts leaflike, basalmost to 35 cm, sheathing; bractlets setaceous, subequaling spikelets, hairy, base auriculate. Inflorescences compound paniculate, to 40 cm, with 8 or 9 branches; branches ca. 5 cm, triangular, axes often pubescent. Spikelets 1 or 2 in a cluster, light rust-colored to purple, 3-4 mm, mostly unisexual. Male spikelets oblong-ovoid to narrowly ovoid, apex truncate to acute; glumes 1.4-3 mm, membranous, with rust-colored lines. Female spikelets usually at base of branch, narrowly ovoid, apex acuminate; glumes broadly ovate to ovate-lanceolate, ± keeled, margin apically ciliate, apex cuspidate. Male flowers: stamens 3; anthers linear, ca. 1 mm; connective apex ca. 0.3 mm. Female flowers: stigmas 3. Disk yellow with light rust-colored lines, ca. 2 mm in diam., 3-lobed; lobes triangular, margins reflexed, apex acute to acuminate or 2- or 3-lobed. Nutlet white, subspherical, ca. 2.5 mm in diam., bluntly 3-sided, smooth, shiny, only apical part sparsely hairy, apex tipped. Fl. and fr. Mar-Sep.