Loosely tufted perennial, 30-70 cm. Rhizome horizontal, scales grey-brown, strongly nerved. Stem trigonous, soft, smooth or slightly scabrous above. Leaves up to equalling stem length; sheaths 5-14 cm, grey or whitish, sometimes with reddish tint, thick, soft, margin of scarious side almost straight; ligule scarious, to 1 mm; blades 4-5 mm wide, flat or slightly carinate, soft, basal parts conspicuously septate, apex long acuminate, slightly scabrous. Inflorescence of 1-3 male spikes above and 1-3 female spikes below. Bracts sheath-less, mostly overtopping inflorescence. Male spikes (10-)20-50 mm, fusiform, sessile, overlapping; male glumes 4.6-5.3 x 1.3-1.5 mm, lanceolate to oblanceolate, obtuse, margins scarious. Female spikes 20-35 x 8-11 mm, cylindrical or ellipsoid, lower with peduncle up to 10 mm, often slightly drooping; female glumes 3.9-4.5 x 1-1.7 mm, lanceolate, acute, dark brown to dark reddish brown, apex and margins scarious; utricles 4.2-5.6 x 1.7-2.5 mm, ovoid to ellipsoid, membranous, mostly clearly nerved, yellowish or brownish, inflated, glossy, beak 0.7-1.1 mm, cylindrical, yellowish or dark brown, truncate, oblique or obscurely bidentate. Stigmas 3. Nut 2-2.2 x 1.3-1.4 mm, obovoid, trigonous, greenish brown, glossy, reticulate with papilla in each areole.