Perennial, usually 75-100 cm tall, with a coarse rhizome. Leaves linear, 5-15 mm wide, the margins scabrous. Bracts subtending inflorescence usually 2 or 3, long, leaflike; spikelets in a dense, terminal, sessile, ovoid head 1.5-4 cm long; flowers numerous, ca 7 mm long, the upper ones staminate, the lower ones bisexual; scales greenish to light brown with a stout tip; stamens 3; style bifid. Achenes subglobose, weakly flattened, 1.5-2 mm long, light brown, capped by persistent green tubercle and subtended from base by 6 persistent bristles to ca 5 mm long. Croat 8554. Occasional in the forest, but locally common along the shore, usually near water. Flowers from the late rainy season through the dry season. The fruits mature in the late dry and early rainy seasons. The species is quite variable elsewhere. Mexico to Trinidad and Brazil; Jamaica. In Panama, known from tropical dry forest in Herrera, Coclé, Panama, and Darien, from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone, from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone and Colon, from premontane wet forest in Panama, and from tropical wet forest in Colon and Panama. See Fig. 55.