Plants with basal sheaths of previous year not persistent. Culms to 60 cm × 1.5 mm, scabrous. Leaves: sheaths usually all with blades; proximal 2-3 sheaths to 10-15 cm with reduced blades shorter than sheath, green, fronts herbaceous, prominently veined, not splitting, apex truncate, fronts of distal sheaths hyaline, rugose, indistinctly linearly veined, apex colorless, hyaline, convex, entire; ligules obtuse, 1.5 mm, free limb to 0.1 mm; blades not clustered at base, not epistomic, to 40 cm × 5 mm. Inflorescences very condensed, ovoid or shortly cylindric, with 5-10 indistinguishable branches, to 2.5 × 1.5 cm; proximal internode not visible, not more than 3 mm; proximal bract scalelike, inconspicuous. Scales hyaline, brown, distinctly shorter than perigynia. Perigynia pale brown, 9-11-veined abaxially, 5-7-veined adaxially, to 3.5 × 1.5 mm, base distended only slightly proximally, cordate; stipe to 0.2 mm; beak to 2 mm, margins serrulate, apex bidentate, teeth to 0.1 mm. Achenes obovate, to 1.5 × 1 mm; stalk to 0.2 mm; persistent style base cylindric. Fruiting Aug. Wet subalpine meadows, stream banks; 1000-3200 m; Colo., Idaho, Mont., Oreg., Wash., Wyo.