This native perennial plant is about 1½3' tall, consisting of tight tufts of leaves and one or more flowering culms. The erect to ascending culms are light green to green, 3-angled, hairless, and rather spongy toward the base, becoming more slender at the apex where the inflorescence occurs. The alternate leaves are produced from infertile shoots and the flowering culms; they are up to 2' long and ½" across, light green to green, hairless, and linear in shape. The leaves arch outward and downward, forming pseudo-rosettes; the larger leaves are conspicuously indented along their central veins. At the apex of each culm, there is an inflorescence consisting of a terminal staminate spikelet (less often 2-3 staminate spikelets) and 2-7 pistillate spikelets. The staminate spikelet is up to 4" long, light to dark brown, and somewhat flattened; it can be nearly sessile, short-stalked, or long stalked. Each pistillate spikelet is up to 3½" long and 1¼" across; it is oblongoid-cylindrical and densely crowded with the inflated perigynia of the pistillate flowers. Initially, the pistillate spikelets are light green to green, but they become yellowish brown with maturity; they usually occur in a loose cluster on short slender peduncles. Each perigynium is up to 15 mm. (2/3") long and 6 mm. (¼") across; it is lanceolate-ovoid in shape, tapering to a long conical beak. There are several longitudinal veins along the outer surface of the perigynium. The pistillate scales are smaller in size than the perigynia; each of these scales is lanceolate, tapering gradually into an awned tip. Young pistillate scales have green central veins and translucent margins; they later become light brown. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer (rarely later) and lasts about 2 weeks. At this time, each pistillate flower has 3 curly white stigmas that are exerted from the beak of its perigynium. The achenes are about 3 mm. long and 3 mm. across; they are rhomboid and sharply angled (looking like light green diamonds); sometimes they are slightly knobby where their edges meet, and their sides are often slightly concave. At the apex of each achene, there is a persistent style that is coiled or curved near the base; this style is light green and longer than the achene. The root system consists of short rhizomes and a dense tuft of fibrous roots. This sedge often forms vegetative clumps of plants from its rhizomes.