A tufted, annual sedge with many flowering stems which reach a height of 30 cm.
Stems: slender, not markedly triangular in cross-section and covered in short soft hairs.
Inflorescence: subtended by a pair of short, leaf-like bracts. Several short rays support red-brown spikelets.
This sedge has no tubers and only reproduces by seeds. The root system is shallow and fibrous. It is a very common species of sandy soils and unlike most sedges, does not require moist conditions to grow well. It is usually only a small plant and although it is often found in large numbers it is unlikely to be very competitive.
A branched and bushy perennial that usually grows to about 50 cm.
Stems: lightly ribbed, becoming woody with time.
Leaves: alternate and deeply lobed with thread like structures of varying lengths.
Inflorescence: solitary flower heads on long stems, with bright purple florets.
Seeds: about 3 mm long, pale brown, ribbed and hairy. At one end it is a whorl of hairs.
Seedlings have small, round cotyledons about 5 mm in diameter. The first pair of leaves is entire, linear, about 20 mm x 4 mm with a marked central vein. They are dark green and glabrous.