Description from Flora of China
Annuals or short-lived perennials. Culms tufted, 5-50(-100) cm tall, glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Leaves slightly shorter to longer than culm; sheaths leathery, margin pale brown, broad, and membranous, apex subtruncate; leaf blade linear to setaceous, pubescent or glabrescent, apex acute to obtuse. Involucral bracts 3 or 4, leaflike, usually 1 or 2 longer than inflorescence, glabrous or hairy. Inflorescence a compound or rarely simple anthela, 5-9 × 3-6 cm, lax or compact. Spikelets solitary, ovoid, ellipsoid, or oblong, 4.5-14 × ca. 2.5 mm, many flowered. Glumes brown, ovate, oblong-ovate, or oblong, 2.2-4.2 mm for fertile ones, shiny, 3-5-veined, midvein excurrent into a mucro. Stamens 1 or 2; filament short. Style longer than stamen, compressed, apically ciliate; stigmas 2. Nutlet with brown stipe, obovoid to broadly so, globose, or ± obdeltoid, 0.6-1.3 mm, biconvex, with 7-9 obvious vertical ribs, reticulation nearly transversely oblong. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
Fimbristylis depauperata R. Brown (F. dichotoma f. depauperata (R. Brown) Ohwi; F. dichotoma subsp. depauperata (R. Brown) J. Kern) has been mistakenly treated as a form or subspecies of F. dichotoma (Tang & F. T. Wang, Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 11: 90. 1961; J. Kern, Fl. Males. 7: 576. 1974), but it is a distinct species that occurs in N Australia, W Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Paddy fields, open grasslands, shallow water in marshes, farmlands, open wastelands; near sea level to 2100 m. Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, S Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Xisha Qundao, SE Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam; Africa, SW Asia, Australia, Central, North, and South America, Indian Ocean islands, Madagascar, Pacific islands].