Culms trigonous, not filiform or wiry, angles proximal to spike blunt or sharp, 10-50 cm, usually longer than leaves. Leaves: basal leaf sheaths ± fibrillose when old; blades light to bright green, folded or channeled, not quill-shaped, 5-15 cm, (0.7-)1-2 mm wide near base. Spike 17-40 × 4-6.5 mm; staminate portion 10-16(-20) mm. Proximal pistillate scales golden-brown (cream-colored) with white margins to 1.2 mm wide or cream-colored throughout, orbiculate, 3-5.5 × 2-3.5 mm, shorter than mature perigynia, apex obtuse to awned. Staminate scales gold with white margins, oblong-lanceolate, apex obtuse to acute. Perigynia 3-15, erect to appressed, white to gold, broadly obovate to broadly ovate, 3-4.5 × 1.4-2.2 mm, body hirsute or puberulent at least proximal to beak; beak (0.4-)0.5-1 mm; rachilla present. Achenes obovate to elliptic, 2.2-2.6(-3) × 1.2-1.9 mm. Stigmas ± black.
Fruiting spring-summer. Dry slopes in granitic soils; 2200-3300 m; Colo., Wyo.; Mexico (Coahuila).