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Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 5-30 cm tall, much exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades numerous, flat or slightly channeled, 1-4 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 2 to 4, the terminal one of both male and female flowers, the female flowers towards the tips, stalked, 1-1.5 cm long, the lower spikes 1 to 3, with female flowers, approximate or more or less separate, nodding, 1-1.5 cm long, long-stalked; bracts subtending the lowest spike with a sheath 0.7-2 cm long and a blade about as long, reduced above, the blade much shorter than the inflorescence.
Perigynia narrowly lanceolate, 3.5-5 mm long, 1-1.2 mm wide, tapering towards the ends, purplish toward the tips, smooth, fringed with hairs above, obscurely few-nerved, the beaks 1.1-1.6 mm long, bidentate; female scales narrowly egg-shaped, shorter but usually wider than the perigynia, pointed, dark purplish-black or dark brown, the margins translucent; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled with concave sides, 1.5-2 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia