Long-rhizomatous with yellow roots. Stems erect, 12–40 cm. Leaves: basal bladeless; cauline blades 0.5–2 mm wide. Inflorescence of 2 or 3 well-separated spikes; the lowest bract shorter than the inflorescence. Spikes mostly unisexual; the uppermost male, linear, 10–35 mm long; the lower female, arching-pedunculate, 8–25 mm long, cylindric. Perigynia ascending, green to tan, elliptic, glabrous, 2–4 mm with a tiny beak; stigmas 3. Female scales ovate, coppery, acute to apiculate, ca. as long as the perigynia. Achene 3-sided, nearly filling the perigynium (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
Wet, organic soils of fens in the montane zone.