Plants colonial, long-rhizomatous, vegetative shoots widely scattered and inconspicuous from deep rhizomes. Culms 15-65 cm, smooth to scabrous distally. Leaves proximal sheaths with blades, brownish or purple-tinged, slender, 1.3-3.2 mm diam.; ligules (0.6-)1-6 mm, (0.8-)1-2 times longer than wide; leaf blades green, flat, 3-20 cm × 1.5-5 mm, herbaceous. Inflorescences 4-32 cm, 0.9-1.6 times as long as proximal bract; proximal bracts 4-22 cm, sheaths 0.5-5 cm, blades 3.5-17 cm; pistillate spikes ovoid to linear-cylindric, 6-40 × 3-5.8 mm; lateral spikes erect or ascending on stiff peduncles. Pistillate scales brown or purple tinged, apex awned or obtuse. Perigynia ascending to spreading, green, 2.5-4 × 1-2.2 mm, minutely papillose; beak minute, bent. Achenes light to dark brown, 1.8-3 × 1.2-1.6(-1.8) mm. Fruiting late spring-early summer. Calcareous fens, bogs, and swales; 20-1000 m; Man., Ont., Sask.; Conn., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.J., N.Y., N.Dak., Ohio, Pa., S.Dak., Va., W.Va., Wis. See notes under 257. Carex meadii.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent in northern Indiana in marly or sandy soils, bordering marshes and lakes; becoming frequent to locally common on the dunes where it occurs especially on low sandy interdunal flats; rare in southern Indiana, in open post oak flats.
Stems 2-6 dm, in small clumps on long, slender, deep-seated, pale rhizomes, phyllopodic (at least the fertile stems) and often fibrillose at base, only seldom purplish below; lvs flat, 2-4.5 mm wide, surpassed by the stems; terminal spike staminate, strongly rough-pedunculate, 1.5-4 cm; pistillate spikes 1-3, mostly widely separated, erect on slender peduncles, 7-40 נ3-5 mm; bracts long-sheathing, the blade shorter than the stem; pistillate scales ovate, obtuse to acuminate or short-awned, brownish-purple-tinged with 3-nerved green center and hyaline margins; perigynia overlapping in mostly 3 rows, obovoid-fusiform, 2.5-3.5 mm, obscurely trigonous, with numerous fine nerves and 2 more prominent lateral ribs, broadest (1.5-2 mm) above the middle and evenly and broadly tapered or rounded to the beakless tip; achene broadly obovoid-trigonous, with concave sides, filling the perigynium; 2n=56. Meadows and low woods; Mass. to N.J. and Va., w. to Minn., Alta., and Nebr.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.