Plants densely cespitose. Culms 51-97 cm. Leaves: sheaths adaxially green-veined nearly to collar, ± white-hyaline triangular area to 6 mm proximal to collar, firm, summits tinged brown, usually rounded, prolonged to 1.5-6 mm beyond collar; distal ligules (3-)4-8 mm; blades 3-4(-5) per fertile culm, 15-25(-45) cm × (2.5-)3-4(-5) mm. Inflorescences proximal branches often bearing several spikes, green to pale brown, 3.5-8 cm × 10-13 mm; proximal internode 5-12 mm; 2d internode 4-11 mm; proximal bracts bristlelike, shorter than inflorescences. Spikes (6-)8-12, distant, distinct, broadly ovoid, 11-18 × 6-8 mm, base attenuate, apex rounded. Pistillate scales white-hyaline or pale gold, with green, gold, or brown midstripe, lanceolate to ovate, 2.7-3.5 mm, somewhat shorter and narrower than perigynia, apex obtuse or acute. Perigynia ascending to ascending-spreading, white or gold conspicuously (1-)3-8-veined abaxially, conspicuously 1-7-veined adaxially, ovate to broadly ovate, flat or plano-convex, 3.2-4.2 × 1.7-2.1 mm, 0.4-0.5 mm thick, margin flat, including wing 0.3-0.5(-0.6) mm wide, ciliate-serrulate at least distally; beak white or gold at tip, flat, ± ciliate-serrulate, abaxial suture inconspicuous or with conspicuous white margin, distance from beak tip to achene (1.5-)1.8-2.4 mm. Achenes ovate to obovate, (1.3-)1.5-1.8 × 0.9-1.2 mm, 0.4-0.5 mm thick. 2n = 66. Fruiting late spring-summer. Meadows, forest edges, stream banks, wet soils; 30-2400 m; B.C.; Calif., Oreg., Wash.