Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.
Habitat: Wet places from sea level to moderate elevations in the mountains; tolerant of alkali.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial, the culms scattered or in clumps along the rhizome, slender to stout, 1-10 dm. tall.
Leaf sheaths red or black at base, green or red towards tip, not inflated or callose, membranous to papery, tips broadly obtuse to acute, tooth lacking.
Spikelet terminal and solitary, 5-23 mm. long, lanceolate in outline, brown or chestnut-colored; scales of the spikelet spirally arranged 2-4.5 mm. long, with 1 or 2 empty scales at the base of the spikelet, the lower one encircling the culm; perianth bristles usually 4, retrorsely barbed; stamens 2; styles bifid, thickened at the base.
Achenes lenticular, yellow to brown, 1.5-2.5 mm. long, including a tubercle 0.4-0.7 mm. long.