Herbs, perennial, densely cespitose, 40-60(-70) cm. Stems compact. Leaves in narrow fans to erect, 10-30(-40) cm; sheath base tan to brown, firm; blade mostly green or tinged with maroon, narrowly linear, flattened, plane or slightly twisted, 1-2(-2.5) mm wide, smooth, margins pale, narrow, incrassate, smooth or papillate. Inflorescences: scape sheaths exceeded by leaves; scapes linear, nearly terete, 0.7-1 mm wide, apically 2-ribbed, ribs smooth or papillate; spikes mostly ovoid or ellipsoid, 6-15 mm, apex acute; fertile bracts 5-6 mm, margins pale, strongly scarious, lacerate, often squarrose, submarginally often reddish, apex low-keeled. Flowers: lateral sepals included or slightly exsert, slightly curved, (5.5-)6-7 mm, keel concolorous, firm, finely lacerate or apically lacero-fimbriate, not papillate or ciliate; petals unfolding in morning, blade obovate, 5 mm; staminodes bearded. Seeds translucent, ellipsoid, 0.5-0.6 mm, prominently longitudinally lined.