Perennials. Rhizomes short, thick, woody, oblique, not creeping. Culms 16-70 cm tall, slender, triquetrous, glabrous or pilose. Leaves basal and cauline. Basal leaves only with closed sheath, without leaf blade; sheath pale brown, 3-angled, edges villous, surfaces pubescent, not winged, apex with 3 triangular teeth. Cauline leaves with a sheath like that of basal leaves; contraligule absent; leaf blade linear, 1.5-3 mm wide but apically narrowing, both surfaces villous, margins scabrous, apex obtuse. Involucral bracts leaflike, basalmost to 5 cm, sheathing; bractlets setaceous, both surfaces densely pilose. Inflorescences subcapitate, laxly globose, 1-3 cm, with 5-20 spikelets. Spikelets narrowly ovoid, 4-8 mm, villous especially distally, unisexual, with 14-16 glumes. Glumes yellowish brown, awned, basal 1 or 2 empty, 1 above empty ones with a female flower, others with male flowers. Male flowers: stamens 3. Female flower: style slender; stigmas 3, longer than style, slightly puberulent. Disk brown, stalklike, not lobed. Nutlet white or light brown, subspherical, 1.5-2 mm, obscurely if at all 3-sided, tuberculate, shiny, with tufts of stellate hairs, apex rounded and with a fine tip. Fl. and fr. Apr-Jul.