Plants without conspicuous rhizomes. Culms 20-80 cm, 1.7-2 mm wide basally, 0.6-0.9 mm wide distally. Leaves: sheaths tight, green, fronts hyaline; ligules less than 3 mm, wider than to as wide as long; widest leaf blades 1-3.5 mm wide. Inflorescences capitate, with 4-8 spikes, individual spikes difficult to distinguish, 0.8-2 cm × 6-15 mm; proximal bracts to 1.5 cm; spikes with 5-10 ascending or spreading perigynia. Pistillate scales brown with green midvein, ovate, 3.8-4.3 × 1.3-2.2 mm, body as long as and slightly narrower than to as wide as perigynium, apex acute to short-awned. Anthers 1.5-2.2 mm. Perigynia dark brown with green margins, veinless or obscurely veined abaxially, 3.2-5 × 1.4-2.5 mm, margins serrulate distally; beak 0.7-1.5 mm, apical teeth 0.2-0.6 mm. Achenes suborbiculate, 1.7-2.1 × 1.7-1.8 mm. 2n = 58, 60. Fruiting late spring-mid summer. Dry to mesic grasslands, rocky slopes, screes, forest openings; 0-3500 m; Alta., B.C., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., Oreg., S.Dak., Utah, Wash., Wyo.