Plants densely to loosely cespitose; rhizomes ascending to erect, brown to reddish brown, 0-10 mm, stout. Culms 4-16 cm, scabrous distally; bases (remnants of old leaves) fibrous. Leaf blades pale to bright green, equaling or exceeding stems, 0.5-4.3 mm wide, herbaceous or coriaceous, glabrous abaxially, strongly scabrous to papillose adaxially. Inflorescences with both staminate and pistillate scales; peduncles of basal pistillate spikes erect, short to elongate, stout to slender; peduncles of staminate spikes 0.8-15 mm; proximal nonbasal bracts scalelike, shorter than inflorescences. Spikes: proximal pistillate spikes 2-3 (basal spikes 1-2); cauline spikes usually overlapping with staminate spikes, with 3-10(-15) perigynia; staminate spikes 4.5-11.3 × 1.1-3 mm. Scales: pistillate scales pale brown to reddish brown, with narrow white margins, ovate, 2.9-4.1 × 1.5-1.9 mm, equaling or exceeding perigynia, apex acute to long-acuminate; staminate scales ovate, 4.2-5.4 × 1.2-2.1 mm, apex obtuse or acute to acuminate. Anthers 1.6-2.9 mm. Perigynia green to pale brown, veinless, ellipsoid, obtusely trigonous in cross section, 3.1-4.7 × 1.1-1.6 mm; beak straight, pale green, occasionally with reddish brown tinge near apex, strongly 2-edged, 0.9-2 mm, smooth or ciliate-serrulate, apical teeth 0.2-0.5 mm. Stigmas 3. Achenes brown, ellipsoid to obovoid, obtusely trigonous in cross section, 1.6-2 × 1.2-1.6 mm.