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Perennial wetland herb, stem erect, 5–40 cm high, single or tufted, roundish. Leaves flat to slightly keeled, grass-like. Inflorescence a flattened compact terminal spike, spikelets usually 10–20, reddish-brown, perianth bristles longer than nut.European temperate element, with a continental distribution in W Europe, also in C Asia. In all CE countries, on fen meadows, moist pastures, springheads and saline grounds.