Stolons absent. Culms cespitose, 10--40 cm. Leaves: sheath throats with long, soft, wavy hairs; basal leaves 5--15 cm x 3--7 mm, margins with long, soft, wavy hairs, apex callous. Inflorescences umbellate or sessile glomerules, 5--15 x 5--7 mm; glomerules 1--6, spheric to nearly cylindric; branches straight, divergent by as much as 90°, 0.5--5 cm; proximal inflorescence bract conspicuous, shorter than to much longer than inflorescence; bracts clear, margins nearly entire to lacerate; bracteoles clear, margins ciliate, especially in distal half. Flowers: tepals dark brown to pale with clear margins, 2--5 mm; outer whorl often longer than inner whorl; anthers much exceeding to shorter than filaments. Capsules greenish to dark brown, spheric, equal to or much shorter than tepals. Seeds red-brown to brown, cylindric, 1--1.5 mm; caruncle 0.3--0.8 mm. 2n = 12, 24.
Flowering and fruiting spring--summer. Meadows, open woods, coniferous forest; 50--3200 m; Alta., B.C.; Alaska, Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nebr., N.Mex., Oreg., S.Dak., Utah, Wash., Wyo.
Sheath throats and margins of the basal leaves of Luzula comosa have long, soft, wavy hairs.
The highly variable nature of this species is indicated by the number of names applied to it., including: Luzula campestris var. comosa (E. Meyer) Fernald & Wiegand; L. campestris var. macrantha (S. Watson) Fernald & Wiegand; L. campestris var. columbiana St. John; L. comosa var. congesta (Thuillier) S. Watson; L. comosa var. laxa Buchenau; L. comosa var. macrantha S. Watson; L. comosa var. subsessilis S. Watson; L. intermedia (Thuillier) A. Nelson; L. multiflora ssp. comosa (E. Meyer) Hultén; L. multiflora subsp. congesta (Thuillier) Hylander; L. subsessilis Buchenau. Synonymy--