Plants perennial, sometimes cespitose; rhizomes horizontal, nodulose. Culms stout, 30-90 cm, base smooth or slightly scabrous distally. Leaves: sheaths purple or brownish, tight, smooth or weakly ribbed, narrowly winged, glabrous; contra-ligules minute, obtuse; blades linear, keeled, shorter than culms, 1-5 mm wide, rigid, glabrous or slightly scabrous on margins. Inflorescences 1-2 cm; clusters 1, 5-15 mm wide, each with 3-7 spikelets; bracts subtending inflorescence awl-shaped, 4-15 cm × 1-4 mm. Spikelets bisexual and staminate, 5-10 mm; staminate spikelets many flowered; staminate scales lanceolate, membranous, pistillate scales ovate-acuminate, rigid. Achenes dull white or often brownish gray or with dark gray bands, obscurely trigonous, ovoid-globose, 3-4 mm, smooth, often ribbed, base without pores, sides concave between angles, distinctly trigonous, pointed, apex conspicuously mucronate; hypogynium obsolete, reduced to small brownish ring just distal to pointed base. Fruiting spring-summer. Wet, peaty or sandy soils in pinelands, savannas, and borders of ponds and lagoons; 0-100 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., S.C., Tex.; West Indies (Bahamas, Cuba).