Sp. Pl. 1: 326. 1753.
Herbs, perennial, 0.2–3.5 dm. Rhizomes widely creeping, sparingly branched, 1.5–2 mm diam., nodes closely set. Culms terete, 1 mm diam. Cataphylls several. Leaves: blade absent. Inflorescences 3–10(–12)-flowered, loosely congested, 1–2 cm; primary bract terete, nearly equaling to much longer than culm. Flowers pedicellate; bracteoles broadly ovate, tepals light brown or green, lanceolate, 2.5–4.2 mm; inner series loosely subtending capsule at maturity, slightly shorter, margins scarious; stamens 6, filaments 0.5–0.9 mm, anthers 0.5–0.7 mm; style 0.2 mm. Capsules tan, 3-locular, nearly globose, 2.5–3 × 1.8–2.1 mm, shorter than perianth. Seeds amber, 0.5–0.6 mm, not tailed. 2n = 40, 70, 80, 84.
Phenology: Flowering and fruiting summer.
Habitat: Usually sandy, moist or wet soil along stream banks, pools, lakes or in meadow depressions, rarely in bogs, frequently hidden by larger vegetation
Elevation: 0–3000 m
Greenland, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Alta., B.C., Man., Nfld. and Labr., N.B., N.S., N.W.T., Nunavut, Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon, Alaska, Colo., Idaho, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Oreg., Pa., Utah, Vt., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo., Eurasia, Atlantic Islands (Iceland).