Loosely tufted perennial, 60-120 cm. Rhizome short. Stem sharply trigonous, scabrous along edges. Leaves subbasal, flexuous, equalling or overtopping stem; sheaths 5-20 cm, yellowish or reddish, margin of scarious side concave; ligule up to 0.5 mm; blades 6-9 mm wide, flat, adaxial side scabrous along nerves, abaxial side less scabrous, margins and keel barbed. Inflorescence of terminal male spike and 3-5 female spikes below, close together, the latter drooping. Bracts much overtopping the inflorescence. Male spikes 22-62 x 3-5 mm, fusiform, cylindrical or club-shaped; male glumes 5.3-7.3 x 0.6-0.8 mm, incl. barbed arista 1.5-2.5 mm, ovate, yellowish-brown, scabrous, margins scarious. Female spikes 33-65 x 8-11 mm, cylindrical, peduncles 10-40)-140) mm; female glumes 3.3-6 x 0.6-0.8 mm, incl. barbed arista 2.3-5 mm, yellowish, apex scabrous, margins scarious; utricles 4.9-5.4 x 1.6-2.2 mm, with stipe 0.4-0.4 mm, ovoid, spreding-erect, later reflexed, strongly nerved, smooth, greenish yellow, beak 1.6-2.2 mm, cylindrical, smooth, with 2 long, rigid teeth. Stigmas 3. Nut 2-2.4 x 0.9-1.1 mm, including 0.4-0.8 mm style base, obovoid, trigonous, yellow or light brown, finely reticulate with a papilla in each areole.