Tufted perennial, 25-60 cm. Stolons long-creeping, internodes 10-35 mm, yellowish scales disintegrating into fibres. Stem trigonous, scabrous or smooth. Leaves equalling or overtopping stem; sheaths 25-70 mm, dark greyish brown, soft, margin of scarious side slightly concave or straight, frequently ciliate; ligule up to 0.7 mm, white or brownish or purplish, frequently ciliate; blades 1.5-3.5 mm wide, flat or carinate, long-attenuate, greyish green, margins and upper surface scabrous. Inflorescence of 1-3 male spikes above, close together, 1-3 female spikes below, remote, sessile or subsessile, occasionally slightly drooping. Bracts sheath-less or sub-vaginate, lowest usually overtopping inflorescence. Male spikes, terminal 15-35 x 2-5 mm, lateral 7-20 mm, brown; male glumes 3.7-5.8 x 1-1.6 mm, obovate, apex usually obtuse and scarious, sometimes acute and brown. Female spikes 15-38 x 5-6 mm, cylindrical, brown, lowest occasionally pedunculate; female glumes 2.5-4.2 x 1-1.7 mm, incl. barbed arista to 1.3 mm, triangular, brown or frequently red-brown with scarious margins; utricles 3-4 x 1.4-1.7 mm, ellipsoid, inflated, suberous, obscurely to clearly nerved, nerves not in grooves, yellowish to red-brown, glossy, beak 0.5-0.8 mm, smooth, bidentate, ostiole wide. Stigmas 3. Fruit 1.8-2 x 1.1-1.4 mm, including occasionally up to 0.3 mm style base, ellipsoid, trigonous, yellow-brown, finely reticulate with papilla in each areole.