Plants without short-creeping rhizomes. Culms 20-60 cm, 0.7-1.3 mm wide basally, 0.2-0.5 mm wide distally. Leaves: sheaths tight, green, fronts hyaline; ligules less than 2 mm, wider than long; widest leaf blades 0.9-1.5 mm wide. Inflorescences with 3-6 spikes, 2-8 cm × 2.5-6.5 mm; proximal internodes more than 2 times as long as proximal spikes; proximal bracts 1-11 cm; spikes with 2-5(-7) ascending perigynia. Pistillate scales hyaline with green midvein, ovate to circular-ovate, 1.2-1.9 × 0.9-1.6 mm, body 1/2 length of perigynium, apex obtuse, acute, or short-awned. Anthers 0.8-1.3 mm. Perigynia green, faces not veined, 2-3.4 × 0.8-1.3 mm, base of perigynium spongy, thickened, longitudinally striate adaxially, spongy region 0.5-1.1 mm, margins serrulate distally; beak 0.3-1 mm, apical teeth 0.1-0.4 mm. Stigmas coiled or twisted, 0.05-0.08(-0.09) mm wide. Achenes ovate to obovate, 1.4-2 × 0.8-1.3 mm. 2n = 52. Fruiting late spring-early summer. Dry to mesic deciduous or mixed forests, usually on sandy or rocky soils; 100-1000 m; Ont., Que.; Conn., D.C., Ga., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va. The name Carex radiata has frequently been misapplied to C. appalachica.
Much like nos. 26 [Carex radiata (Wahlenb.) Small] and 28 [Carex rosea Schkuhr ex Willd.]; fertile stems arching in fr, 0.7-1.3 mm thick at base; widest lvs 0.9-1.5 mm wide; lower spikes distinctly separate; perigynia ascending or suberect, 2-3.4 mm, cuneate to somewhat rounded at base; achene set low in the perigynium, its base 0.1-0.5 mm above that of the perigynium; stigmas 0.05-0.08 mm wide, coiled to 3 times, seldom merely twisted; 2n=52. Well drained sites in open forests and at forest-margins; Me. to s. Que. and s. Ont., s. to N.J. and Pa., and in the mts. to N.C. and Tenn. (C. radiata, misapplied)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.