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Perennial, tufted herb from short, fibrous roots; stems 50-110 cm tall, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths loose, 2-lobed at the tips; ligules 0.8-2.5 cm long; blades 3 to 5 per stem, channeled, borne on the lower 1/2 of stem, 6-15 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 3 to 5, remote, 1-4 cm long, borne on upper 1/2 of the stem, long-stalked, erect to spreading, the terminal one linear, 1.5-3 cm long, with male flowers, the lower 2 to 4 spikes narrowly cylindrical, 1-4 cm long, with female flowers; bracts subtending the female spikes long-sheathing, leaflike, up to 15 cm long, longer than the spikes.
Perigynia broadly lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, 4-6.5 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, few, green, slightly inflated, smooth, shiny, many-nerved, prominently keeled, spreading or ascending, short-stalked, tapered to both ends, the beaks poorly defined; female scales broadly egg-shaped, much shorter than the perigynia, reddish-brown, the centres 3-nerved, pale green, the margins white-translucent, the tips round to pointed; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 2.7-3.2 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia