Culms usually aphyllopodic, without dead leaf remains at base, 20-60 cm. Leaf blades 1-2.5 mm wide, margins involute, scabrid. Inflorescences: proximal bracts 2-6 cm, shorter than inflorescences; lateral spikes sometimes androgynous, 6-20 × 4-8 mm, with 8-30 perigynia; terminal spikes 7-35 × 1.5-2.5(-3) mm. Pistillate scales ovate to ovate-circular, 3-5.5 × 2-3.4 mm, wider and as long as or slightly longer than perigynia, apex obtuse to subacute, sometimes mucronate. Staminate scales obovate, 3-4.5 × 1.4-1.6 mm, apex obtuse, sometimes mucronate. Anthers 2-3 mm. Perigynia 2.5-4 × 1.8-2.6 mm, apex rounded; beak 0.1-0.5 mm. Fruiting summer. Sphagnum bogs, wet meadows, shores; 0-2000 m; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Calif., Conn., Del., Ind., Iowa, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.Dak., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., Utah, Vt., Wash., Wis.; Eurasia.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent in tamarack bogs and on mucky lake borders in northern Indiana. It is usually found in sphagnum.
Stems arising singly or few together from long, creeping rhizomes, 2-6 dm, strongly aphyllopodic; roots covered with a yellowish-brown, felty tomentum; lvs few, 1-2 mm wide, tending to be canaliculate; terminal spike staminate, 1-3 cm; pistillate spikes 1-3, nodding on slender peduncles, occasionally with a few staminate fls at the tip, 1-2.5 cm, the lowest usually subtended by a nearly or quite sheathless leafy bract 2-10 cm; pistillate scales light to dark brown, commonly about as long and wide as the perigynia, obtuse to acute or acuminate; perigynia pale, commonly greenish or stramineous, densely papillate, elliptic to ovate, somewhat compressed, 2-ribbed and with 4-7 ±evident nerves on each face, 2.3-4.2 mm, beakless or with a minute beak to 0.2 mm; achene trigonous, rather loosely enveloped by the distally empty perigynium; 2n=56, 62, 64. Sphagnum-bogs; circumboreal, s. to N.J. (and reputedly Del.), O., Io., and Calif.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.