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Perennial, loosely or densely tufted herb from short rhizomes; stems triangular, with smooth edges, slightly rough below the inflorescence, 15-100 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight, short; blades flat, arising from the lower part of the stem, 2-6 mm wide, the lower ones slightly reduced.
The terminal spike or top 2 with male flowers, the lower 2 to 3 with female flowers and occasionally with a few male flowers at the top, unstalked or with short stalks, 1.5-4 cm long, erect; lowermost bract subtending the spikes leaflike, sheathless with brown ear-shaped lobes, usually shorter than or equalling the inflorescence, the upper ones reduced.
Perigynia egg- to globe-shaped, 2.5-2.8 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, green, inflated, nerveless, the beaks minute, up to 0.3 mm long; female scales egg-shaped, longer and narrower than the perigynia, purplish-brown, with lighter centres; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.3-1.7 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia