Plants densely cespitose. Culms 25-80 cm. Leaves: sheaths adaxially hyaline, often green-veined nearly to collar, summits U- or V-shaped or rounded, sometimes prolonged to 1.5 mm beyond collar; distal ligules 1-4 mm; blades 2-5 per fertile culm, 7-25 cm × 2-3.5 mm. Inflorescences stiffly erect, dense or open, greenish brown to gold, 2-4.5 cm × 12-20 mm; proximal internode 2-15 mm; 2d internode 2.5-5 mm; proximal bracts leaflike, much longer than inflorescence, or bristlelike. Spikes 5-8(-11), usually distinct, broadly ovoid, 8-11 × 5-8 mm, base and apex acute to rounded. Pistillate scales reddish brown, with paler center, ovate to broadly ovate, 4-5.5 mm, equaling, ± covering perigynia, hyaline margin absent or to 0.2 mm, apex acute to mucronate. Perigynia ascending to spreading, green, gold, or cream colored, conspicuously 7-11-veined abaxially, conspicuously 0(-2)-veined adaxially, ovate to broadly ovate, plano-convex to biconvex, 4-5 × 1.9-2.5 mm, 0.7-1.1 mm thick, margin flat, including wing 0.2-0.6 mm wide, often thickened; beak gold at tip, flat, ciliate-serrulate, abaxial suture usually inconspicuous, distance from beak tip to achene 1.7-2 mm. Achenes obovate to elliptic, 2.1-2.5 × 1.6-2 mm, 0.7-1 mm thick. 2n = 78. Fruiting spring-summer. Dry, acidic, sandy soils of open woods and clearings, moist shores; 0-400 m; Alta., B.C., Man., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., Que., Sask.; Maine, Mich., Minn., N.Y., Wis.
Densely tufted, aphyllopodic, 2-8 dm; main lvs surpassed by the stem, 3-4 mm wide; lowest bract dilated at base and often twice as long as its spike; spikes 4-15, gynaecandrous, 6-12 mm, subglobose, short-clavate at base, sessile and densely crowded in an ovoid or oblong cluster 2-3 cm; pistillate scales brown with narrow white-hyaline margins, largely concealing the perigynia; perigynia appressed-ascending or in age looser, oblong-ovate, strongly planoconvex, 4.2-5.2 mm, 2-2.5 times as long as wide, finely nerved dorsally, obscurely or scarcely so ventrally, narrowly serrulate-winged above the middle, merely sharp-edged below, rather abruptly narrowed to the flat, serrulate beak; achene lenticular, 2-2.5 נ1.5-2 mm; 2n=64. Dry, open places; Nf. to Mack., s. to N.Y., Mich., Minn., and B.C.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.