Scirpus burkei is a robust, tufted, slender, perennial sedge with long thin bracts carrying the inflorescence. It has long 300mm green elliptical leaves. The light brown flowers are carried during summer on tall culms/stems high above the leaves in clusters of small spikelets. These are followed by obovate, 3 angled, light brown nutlets.
Scirpus burkei is often found in sandy soils in grasslands, usually indicating underground water.