Tufted or loosely tufted perennial, 10-40 cm. Rhizome ascending or vertical, covered with grey to dark brown scales, which disintegrate into fibres. Stem obtusely trigonous, smooth or sometimes slightly scabrous above. Leaves from 1/2 of stem length to equalling or, sometimes, overtopping; sheaths 15-40 mm, dark brown, glossy, margin of scarious side straight; ligule 0.2-0.3 mm; blades 1-2.5 mm, erect, slightly falcate, flat or conduplicate, long-attenuate, smooth or margins scabrous towards apex. Inflorescence 5-20 x 5 mm, globose to elongate ellipsoid, compact group of spikes. Bracts sheath-less, acute, glume-like or the lowest as long as its spike. Spikes androgynous, globular. Female glumes 3-4.5 x 1-2.2 mm, light or dark brown, ovate, acute or with mucro to 0.4 mm, apex and margins as a rule scarious. Utricles 3-5 x 1.5-2.4 mm, widely ovoid, plano-convex, light brown, glossy, +/- distinctly nerved, basal parts white, papery, upper parts later suberous, as a rule with narrow, scabrous margin, which long remain green, and with a stipe to 0.7 mm, beak c. 0-0.9 mm, conical, brown to dark brown, smooth or slightly scabrous, ostiole obscurely bifid or oblique with scarious margins. Nut 1.6-2.1 x 1.4-1.6 mm, ovoid to obovoid, plano-convex, yellowish to brown, finally glossy, from obscurely reticulate to papillose.