Tufted, to about 25 cm tall, sometimes shortly spreading. Stems cylindrical to flattened, basal sheaths brownish-red. Leaves reddish, slightly longer than the stems, to 2 mm wide, pinkish, 2 nerves above, margins tough, sheaths to 3 times width of blade. Spikes 3-6, reddish, terminal spike male, the rest female; summer. Nut 3-angled, brown.
A number of New Zealand species have proved popular garden subjects but have also proved weedy and are best avoided. Among these are:
C. buchananii Berggr., a tufted plant to about 0.5 m tall. Leaves reddish-brown, characteristically hemispherical in section. Inflorescence pale brown with a terminal male spike and 5-8 female spikes; summer. A popular waterside plant grown for the colourful foliage.
C. testacea Boott forms a tuft to about 0.5 m tall with flowering stems to about 3 m tall. Leaves and stems less than 1 mm wide; basal sheaths dark brown to reddishbrown. Leaves to 3 mm wide, channelled, often reddish, very rough. Spikes 3-5, terminal spike male, about 1 mm wide; summer. Nut biconvex, dark brown to black.
Source: (2005). Cyperaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.