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Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 20-80 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades flat, 2-4 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem.
Spikes 5 to 15, aggregated into a 1-3 cm long head, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips; bracts subtending the spikes sheathless, the lower one much prolonged and 5-25 cm long, the others reduced and shorter.
Perigynia lanceolate or narrowly egg-shaped, 4-5 mm long, 1.5-1.8 mm wide, light green to straw-coloured or brownish, more or less flattened, the margins winged nearly to the bases and the upper 1/2 fringed with teeth, lightly several-nerved on both sides or nerveless below, the beaks shallowly bidentate, less than 1 mm long, narrowly margined and toothed below; female scales egg-shaped, brownish with green centres and translucent margins, somewhat shorter and narrower than the perigynia, short-awned; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.6-2 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia