Culms densely or loosely tufted, lateral or central, erect or ascending, 17-70 cm × 1-1.5 mm. Leaves: basal sheaths light brown to brown; sheaths green or yellowish green, 2-60 mm; blades ascending, green or yellowish green, midrib developed abaxially, 2 lateral veins developed adaxially, flat or slightly corrugated, 4-52 cm × 0.2-10 mm, blades of overwintering leaves smooth. Inflorescences: peduncles of proximal spikes 0-8.5 cm, arising in distal 1/2 of culm; peduncles of terminal spike 0-0.2 cm; bracts 1.3-14 cm × 1-4 mm, blade of distal lateral spike linear, narrower than spikes, widest bract blade of distalmost lateral spike 0.5-3.4 mm wide. Spikes (3-)4 per culm; lateral spikes 6-24 × 3.5-5 mm, ensheathed by distal bract blades, distal lateral spikes overlapping; terminal spike linear, 11-22 × 0.8-1.8 mm, exceeded by or subequal to distal lateral spike. Stamimate scales linear-ovate, 2.8-3.8 × 1.5-2.2 mm, margins hyaline, apex acute. Pistillate scales 2-2.6 × 1-1.5 mm, apex cuspidate to obtuse. Anthers 1.8-2 mm. Perigynia 4-20 per spike, overlapping, ratio of longer lateral spike length to perigynia number 0.8-1.7, occasionally perigynia of proximal spike scattered, ascending, finely, conspicuously (22-)25-32-veined, elliptic-ovate, 3-5 × 1.2-2 mm, 1.9-2.3 times as long as achene bodies; beak straight or slightly curved, 0.5-1.7 mm. Achenes obovoid, 2.8-4.4 × 1-1.8 mm. 2n = 42. Fruiting spring. Wet, alluvial soils, mostly sandy, under deciduous or mixed deciduous-evergreen forests; 0-100 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.
Plants 3-7 dm, forming large tufts; stems sharply triangular and slightly winged, retrorse-serrate; basal sheaths ±brown; lvs 3-8 mm wide; terminal spike staminate, 1-2 cm, sessile or nearly so, little if at all surpassing the 2 contiguous upper pistillate spikes, overtopped by the bracts; 1 or 2 pistillate spikes also borne well below the summit, but not basal, on short or elongate peduncles; pistillate scales ±acute to often cuspidate; perigynia 4-20, ochroleucous or yellowish, 3.5-5 mm, finely many-nerved as well as 2-ribbed, obtusely trigonous, fusiform, tapering to the ill-defined beak with oblique, entire orifice; achene trigonous. 2n=42. Wet woods, especially in sandy or silty soil; e. Va. to Fla. and Tex.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.