Flower-heads long, branched, either spreading or narrow.
Numerous green or purple spikelets with 1-4 flowers.
Leaves mainly basal, flat, 5-8mm wide, sparsely hairy. Ligules replaced by ring of hairs. Purplish leaf sheaths. Forms dense tussocks. Wiry stems 30-100cm.
Widespread, locally abundant on permanently or seasonally wet ground. Marshes, fens, and on wet heaths and moors.