Slender, smooth, hard-based, glaucous perennial, 20-70 cm high, stem short. Leaves in a fan, 5-25 cm, sheath basally dilated, castaneous or dark brown, upwards pink or purplish, eciliate, eligulate or ligule short; blade strongly flattened, 1.5-3.5 mm wide, margins thin, entireto papillose, tuberculate or scabridulous-ciliolate. Scapes brittle, distally subterete, 0.5-0.7 mm thick, ecostate or with 1 or more ribs and striate, smooth; spikes ovoid to broadly ellipsoid or subglobose, 0.8-1.2 cm, pale brown, bracts in a spiral with distinct though narrow dorsal area, empty ones few, broadly rounded or the lowest 1 or 2 with dorsal area prolonged as a cusp or short, angulate, linear blade equalling or exceeding spike, flower bracts strongly convex, obovate, 5-6 mm, rounded, sometimes apically red-villosulous. Lateral sepals 1/5-1/3 connate, inequilateral, 6-6.5 mm, the firm keel increasingly densely reddish-villous from middle to tip; petals obovate to reniform, ca. 6-7 mm; staminodes bearded; anthers 2 mm. Capsule ca. 3 mm, placentation central, valves eseptate; seeds broadly ellipsoid to ovoid, 0.3-0.5 mm, amber.
Brazilian Planalto present, S Bolivar present, Southern America: Brazil Northeast (Bahia present); Brazil Southeast (São Paulo present); Brazil West-Central (Goiás present); Venezuela (Venezuela present), W Guyana present, contiguous Amazonian Brazil present
Across S Bolivar, Venezuela E to W Guyana and in contiguous Amazonian Brazil as well as the Brazilian Planalto from Bahia and Goias S to Sao Paulo.
This is one of the weedier and more distinctive of upland
Xyris, combining a slender, tall and brittle habit with a glaucous foliage, distinc- tively cuspidate lower spike bracts and rusty-villous, 115-113 connate sepals. While rare in the Guianas, it is one of the commoner sights in the Brazilian Planalto, taking drier sites than do most species.