Leaves as a rule much reduced, the basal ones bladeless, the 2-3 cauline leaves distant, conduplicate at the base, xiphoid in the upper part; Stamens 3; Panicle erect, oblong, narrow, loose, consisting of 3-5 distant fascicles of branches, (5-)10-20 cm long.
Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; Philippines (Philippines present), Bandjermasin present, Bidu Bidu Hills present, Central Celebes present, Malili present, Mt Kinabalu present, N. Borneo present, N. Moluccas present, P. Waigeo near New Guinea present, S. Borneo present, Talaud Is present
Malesia: Borneo (S. Borneo: Bandjermasin; N. Borneo: Bidu Bidu Hills, Mt Kinabalu), throughout the Philippines, Central Celebes (Malili), N. Moluccas (Talaud Is.), P. Waigeo near New Guinea. .
The earliest binomial for this species, Cladium distichum, is sometimes rejected, as it was based on a so-called ‘monstrosity’ with badly deformed spikelets (besides the normal lower glumes each spikelet bears a great number of exactly distichous empty upper glumes). The same ‘mon- strosity’ sometimes occurs in Rhynchospora rubra (see p. 717, notes).