Plants perennial; rhizomes spreading, conspicuous, long, tough, firm; tubers absent. Culms (1–)2–10 mm diam. Leaves all basal. Inflorescences 1–3 times branched or capitate or sometimes of 1 spikelet. Spikelets: scales with midrib only, except sometimes on empty proximal scale, apex clearly emarginate to deeply 2-fid, awned. Flowers: perianth present, segments (members) bristlelike and spinulose or occasionally straplike with soft, blunt hairs; amphicarpic flowers absent. Achenes smooth.