Plants are colonial from a long creeping rhizome. Stems solitary or several together, 5–35 (-70) cm, usually no more than 1 mm in diameter. Basal (at the base) vagina is stable, brown or reddish. Leaves 3–12 cm. Spikelets solitary, erect, broadly ovate to almost spherical, 8–12 (-40) mm; scales from gray to reddish-green, ovoid, 4–10 mm. Flowers: perianth setae 10 or more, bright white, sometimes with a red tinge, 15-30 mm, smooth; anthers 0.5–1.5 mm. Achenes narrowly oblong, 0.4–2.5 mm, top with pointed tip.