Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial. Rhizomes creeping. Culms tufted or nearly scattered, obtusely 3-angled, clothed at base with bladeless leaf sheaths. Leaves basal and cauline; leaf blade of basal leaves slender, elongate, flat or 3-angled; cauline leaves usually reduced to a sheath. Involucral bracts spathelike or glumelike, rarely leaflike. Inflorescence a terminal simple or compound anthela or reduced to a single spikelet. Spikelets with few to many spirally arranged deciduous glumes. Glumes each subtending a bisexual flower. Perianth bristles 10-30, white or brownish red, elongating extremely after anthesis, smooth, silky. Stamens 3. Style base not distinct, not or slightly thickened; stigmas 3. Nutlet obovoid to oblong, 3-sided, smooth, apex beaked.
Eriophorum japonicum, recognized by Tang and F. T. Wang (Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 11: 36. 1961), is a synonym of Scirpus maximowiczii in this treatment (see p. 174).
About 25 species: mostly in cool temperate, alpine, and arctic regions of N Hemisphere; seven species (one endemic) in China.
(Authors: Liang Songyun (梁松筠 Liang Song-jun); Gordon C. Tucker, David A. Simpson)