Stems 2-15 cm. Inflorescences mostly confined to tips of branches, rarely interrupted and continuous from bases of branches or stems, ovoid to cylindric, 7-40 × 5-10 mm; bracts ascending to appressed, linear to linear-lanceolate, 4-11 mm, moderately rigid to rigid, margins revolute, white, scarious portion 0.25-0.4 mm wide; midvein moderately to heavily thickened, lateral veins inconspicuous. Flowers: perianth 1.8-2.2(-2.4) mm; tube 22-30% of perianth length; tepals white or red; perianth tube and base of tepals smooth or, sometimes, papillose; stamens 3. Achenes brown to dark brown, ovate-lanceolate to ovate, 1.5-2 mm, reticulate with longitudinal ridges, dull. Flowering May-Aug. Vernal pools, wet meadows; 500-1900 m; Alta., B.C., Sask.; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., N.Mex., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wyo.