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Perennial, tufted herb from short rhizomes; stems 30-70 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths reddish towards the bases; blades flat, with rolled-under margins, 3-5 mm wide, the lower ones not much reduced.
Spikes 3 to 6, the terminal with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips, the lower 2 to 5 spikes with female flowers, stalked and nodding, 1-2.5 cm long; bracts subtending the spikes short-sheathing, leaflike, about equalling the spikes.
Perigynia broadly egg-shaped, 2.5-4 mm long, 1.3-1.8 mm wide, with rounded margins above, greenish-brown to reddish-black, flat, nerveless, the beaks short, shallowly bidentate, less than 0.4 mm long; female scales lanceolate, usually shorter than and nearly as wide as the perigynia, pointed at the tips, light to dark brown, with translucent margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, egg-shaped, granular, 1.2-1.4 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia