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Perennial, tufted herb from a short stout rhizome; stems 30-50 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths purplish-red towards the bases; blades flat with rolled-under margins, 2-4 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 3 to 6, the terminal spikes with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips, the lower spikes 2 to 5, with female flowers, short-stalked, 0.6-2.5 cm long, erect, the lowermost spikes remote and long-stalked; bracts subtending the spikes short-sheathing, leaflike, about equalling the inflorescence.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 4-5 mm long, 1.8-2 mm wide, green to dark brown, nerved, the beaks short, less than 0.3 mm long; female scales broadly egg-shaped, as long as and wider than the perigynia, pointed and abruptly awned at the tips, reddish-black, roughly pimpled; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, granular, 1.7-2 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia