Stout, rigid, erect, gyno-dioecious, colonial perennial from long rhizomes, mostly (4-)10-15(-20) dm; basal sheaths inflated, mostly bladeless, only the inner ones bearing rigid, erect, terete blades about as long as or longer than the stem, the plants otherwise lfless except for the erect invol lf, this up to 3(-9) dm and appearing like a continuation of the stem; infl apparently lateral, 2-45 cm, usually with numerous repeatedly forked, spreading branches, each branchlet terminated by 2-6 sessile, 2-8-fld glomerules that are subtended by short, ovate bracts; fls not prophyllate, the perfect ones with pale brown, glossy, indurate tep ca 4 mm, the 6 stamens nearly as long, with anthers ca 5 times as long as the filaments, the fls producing relatively few good seeds; pistillate fls with shorter, red-brown tep ca 3 mm, short staminodes, and long red stigmas, the abruptly short-acuminate frs trilocular, ca 5.5 mm, much surpassing the tep, the seeds obovoid, 0.4-0.6 mm; 2n=18. Tidal marshes from s. N.J. 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.