Tight tufts forming perennial, 15-60 cm. Stem obtusely trigonous or terete, grey-green, smooth. Rhizome short. Leaves c. 1/4 of stem length, rigid, often slightly falcate; sheaths 10-30 mm, grey to brown, fibrous; ligule c. 0.2 mm; blades 1.5-2.5 mm wide, flat, keel, and often also midnerve above scabrous, adaxial side glossy, finely papillose. Inflorescence with terminal spike totally male or gynecandrous, overtopping distant (1-)2-4 female spikes. Bracts narrow, lowest c. equalling its spike, sheaths to 20 mm. Terminal spike 6-15 mm, narrowly ovoid (male) or club-shaped (gynecandrous); male glumes c. 2.7 x 1.4 mm, very light brown, apex widely rounded, margins scarious. Female spikes 8-15 mm, with 5-17 utricles, lax, upper two often overlapping; female glumes 2.2-2.4 x 1.1-1.2 mm, caducous, very light brown, apex wide, rounded, ciliate, sometimes with scabrous mucro; utricles 2.7-3 x c. 1.2 mm, ellipsoid, fusiform, 2-veined, olive-green to brown, smooth, glossy, beak 0.3-0.6 mm, colourless, obscurely bidentate, sometimes scabrous. Stigmas 3. Nut 1.5-1.7 x 0.8-0.9 mm, ellipsoid, triangular, greenish brown to brown, finely reticulate.