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Perennial herb from long, creeping rhizomes; stems 5-30 cm tall, arising singly, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths green, the lower ones bladeless, persisting, darkened; blades 3 to 5 per stem, crowded toward the base, flat or channeled at the base, the margins sometimes in-rolled and roughened, 1-3 mm wide.
Spikes 6 to 15, clustered into an egg-shaped, 1.5- to 2.5-cm long head, indistinguishable, 1-1.2 cm long, unstalked, with both female and male flowers (rarely all female flowers), the few male flowers towards the tips; bracts of the spikes inconspicuous and much like the scales.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, appressed to ascending, yellowish-brown or brownish-black, biconvex, smooth, few to several nerved below, short-stalked, the beaks bidentate, finely-toothed, about 1 mm long; female scales egg-shaped, as long as and slightly wider than the perigynia, awn-tipped, light to dark brown, the margins translucent; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, smooth, 1.7-2 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia