Distribution: Occurring chiefly west of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska south to Oregon, east across the northern half of North America to the Atlantic Coast.
Habitat: Swamps and other wet places at moderate elevations in the mountains, descending to sea level along the coast.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Herbaceous perennial from extensive creeping rhizomes, the culms stout, 3-7 dm. tall.
Leaves few, mostly basal, with well-developed sheath and narrow, channeled blade up to 2 mm. wide; sheathes closed; uppermost sheath about mid-culm, often bladeless.
Spikelet terminal and solitary, with up to 7 sterile scales, the outermost enlarged, up to 2 cm. long; fertile scales subtending the flowers partly blackish-green, with the tip and margins paler, russet-flecked on a whitish background; perianth consisting of numerous capillary bristles 2-4 cm. long, reddish to white; stamens 3; style trifid.
Achenes dark, about 2 mm. long, obovate.