(L.) Retz., Obs. Bot. 4:11.1786 Perennial, 0.5-1 m tall. Leaves linear, 3-7 mm wide, glabrous or the margins and the underside of midrib scabrous. Bracts subtending inflorescence leaflike, to 30 cm long; spikelets in dense globose heads about 1 cm diam, mostly on short rays, numerous, ovate, flattened, 2-5 mm long, bearing up to 10 or more flowers; scales whitish, membranaceous, boat-shaped, easily disarticulating; stamen 1. Achenes oblong, l mm long, trigonous, smooth, light brown. Croat 5810. Throughout tropical America. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest all along the Atlantic slope as well as in Veraguas, Los Santos, Herrera, Panama, and Darien; known also from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama, from premontane wet forest in Chiriqui, Coclé, Panama, and Darien, and from tropical wet forest in Coclé (Atlantic slope) and Colón.