Herbs, perennial, usually cespitose, 60–150 cm, base shallowly set. Stems compact. Leaves in fans, 40–70 cm; base dull, straw-colored, green, or pinkish; blade lustrous green, broadly linear, flat or slightly twisted, 5–25 mm, smooth, margins papillate. Inflorescences: scape sheaths much exceeded by leaves; scapes linear, 1–1.5 mm wide, distally scabrous, 2-ribbed, ribs harsh; spikes ovoid to ellipsoid, 12–25 mm, apex blunt; fertile bracts 5–8 mm, margins nearly entire, apex rounded. Flowers: lateral sepals conspicuously exserted, yellow-brown, nearly straight, (5.5–)6–8(–9) mm, keel firm, long-fimbriate with pale hairs; petals unfolding in late morning, blade obovate, 5–8 mm; staminodes bearded. Seeds translucent, cylindro-fusiform, 0.8–1 mm, with broad, flat, pale longitudinal ribs. 2n = 18.
Phenology: Flowering summer–fall (all year south).
Habitat: Peats and mucks of pond shallows, sluggish shallow streams, bogs, seeps, low pine savanna
Elevation: 0–300 m
Ala., Del., Fla., Ga., La., Md., Miss., N.J., N.C., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.