Plants densely to loosely cespitose; rhizomes short, no more than 10 cm. Culms trigonous in cross section, 40-100 cm, scabrous-angled distally. Leaves: basal sheaths reddish purple; ligules longer than wide; blades pale to mid green, flat to W-shaped, 3.5-9 mm wide, glabrous. Inflorescences 6-25 cm; proximal bract 15-40 cm, exceeding inflorescence; proximal 3-4 spikes pistillate, erect or the proximal spreading; terminal 1-2 spikes staminate. Pistillate scales ovate, obtuse to acuminate, 2-4.4(-5.1) × 0.7-1.3 mm, shorter than perigynia, margins erose, apex contracted, scabrous-awned, awn mostly shorter than body. Staminate scales scabrous-awned, sometimes also ciliate-margined. Perigynia ascending, ca. 13-25-veined, veins separated by 3+ times their width, confluent at or proximal to mid beak (except for 2 prominent lateral), narrowly elliptic, 3.1-4.8 × 0.9-1.5(-1.8) mm, herbaceous, apex tapered; beak 0.9-1.8 mm, smooth, bidentulate, teeth straight, 0.4-0.9 mm. Stigmas 3. Achenes yellow to pale brown, trigonous, smooth. Fruiting May-Aug. Stream banks, springheads, seeps, wet meadows; 1100-1800 m; Ariz.; Mexico.