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Perennial, tufted herb from short, stout rhizomes; stems 30-90 cm tall, erect or decumbent, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths long, concave to blunt; ligules longer than wide; blades 3 to 5 per stem, flat, scattered on the stem, 2.5-4 mm wide.
Spikes 1 to 7, the terminal spike linear, 1-2 cm long, usually with male flowers only, the lower 2 to 4 spikes narrowly cylindrical, 2-5 cm long, with female flowers, remote, long-stalked, nodding; bracts subtending the female spikes short-sheathing, leaflike, 1.5-10 cm long, the lowermost longer than the subtended spikes.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 5-6 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, greenish to straw-coloured, smooth, shiny, 2-ribbed near the margins, short-stalked, the beaks slender, as long as or longer than the bodies, deeply bidentate; female scales lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, narrower than the perigynia, the centres green and 3-nerved, the tips pointed to more usually strongly awned; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 1.8-2.5 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia