Perennials. Culms ca. 1 m tall, ca. 1 cm wide, 3-angled. Leaf sheath laxly embracing culm, to 15 cm, sometimes pubescent, winged on middle part of culm, wing 1-4 mm wide; contraligule purple, triangular; leaf blade linear, 15-50 × 1.5-2.5 cm, papery, slightly scabrous, glabrous. Involucral bracts leaflike, basalmost to 25 cm, sheathing; bractlets setaceous, pubescent. Inflorescences paniculate; lateral branches 4 or 5, 6-5 × 5-10 cm, compact, with many spikelets, ca. 2/3 of spikelets male. Male spikelets brown, oblong-ovoid; glumes membranous. Female spikelets usually basal, narrowly ovoid to ovoid; glumes brown, thickly membranous, hispid, apex apiculate. Male flowers: stamens 3. Female flowers: stigmas 3. Disk yellow, ca. 1.5 mm in diam., 3-lobed; lobes semicircular, margins thick and reflexed. Nutlet white, ovoid, ca. 2.5 × 2 mm, bluntly 3-sided, smooth, glabrous, apex tipped. Fl. and fr. Apr-Aug.