Plants densely cespitose. Culms 5-35 cm, distally scabrous. Leaves 2-3 mm wide. Inflorescences: proximal bracts shorter than or exceeding inflorescences; spikes globose or oblong, 4-10 × 3-6 mm; lateral 1-2(-3) spikes pistillate, distant, distinct, erect, short-pedunculate; terminal and distal lateral spikes overlapping, sessile, forming dense terminal cluster; terminal spike gynecandrous. Pistillate scales dark brown or black, margins hyaline, ovate, shorter than or equaling and as broad as perigynia; midvein same color as body, inconspicuous. Perigynia ascending, green becoming dark brown or purple-black, veinless, elliptic or obovate, 2-2.5 × 1.25-1.5 mm, often serrulate distally, apex abruptly beaked, papillose; beak 0.2-0.3 mm, shallowly bidentate, smooth or serrulate. Achenes nearly filling body of perigynia. 2n = 56. Fruiting Jul-Aug. Mossy heath, tundra; 0-1000 m; Greenland; Man., Nfld. and Labr., Nunavut, Ont., Que.; Eurasia. Carex norvegica is an amphi-Atlantic species. Carex norvegica subsp. inserrulata is synonymous with subsp. norvegica in this treatment; however, as some differences can be seen between subsp. inserrulata in Greenland and subsp. norvegica in northern Europe, further study is warranted.
Stems slender and lax, 2-7 dm, loosely to densely tufted on a compact system of rather slender rhizomes, somewhat aphyllopodic; lvs ±flat, 1.5-3 mm wide; spikes mostly 2-5, approximate, erect or closely ascending, sessile or short-pedunculate, relatively small, the terminal one gynaecandrous, 6-14 mm, the lateral ones pistillate, shorter, seldom over 10 mm; bract subtending the lowest spike sheathless or nearly so, shorter to longer than the infl; pistillate scales purplish-black or brownish-black, prominently white-hyaline-margined, to as long as the perigynia and usually fully as wide; perigynia coppery-yellowish or light green to dark purple, elliptic, commonly rather narrowly so,
to ±obovate, 2.1-3 mm, distended and nearly filled by the trigonous achene, empty only just beneath the short (0.3-0.4 mm) generally blackish beak, 2-ribbed, otherwise only inconspicuously or scarcely nerved, minutely cellular-reticulate; 2n=54, 56. Streambanks, seepage areas, and moist meadows; circumboreal, s. in Amer. to Que., Wis., Minn., and Utah. (C. halleri; C. media; C. vahlii)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.