Culms slender, 4-10 dm, from creeping rhizomes; sheaths and blades scabrous, the collar usually shortly bearded; blades firm, 2-4 mm wide; infl 8-15 cm, tawny to purplish, rather dense; glumes firm, rather broad, 3.5-4.5 mm, scabrous; lemma 3.5 mm, scabrous, the awn inserted near the base, about equaling the lemma, evidently geniculate near the middle, twisted below; callus-hairs in 2 tufts, half to three-fourths as long as the lemma; palea nearly equaling the lemma; 2n=84-120. Mossy rocky and marshy meadows and sandy shores; Nf. and Que. to Vt. and N.Y., w. to Mich. and Minn. (C. fernaldii)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
This is an infrequent species in the lake area, where it prefers marly marshes and springy places, although it is sometimes found in habitats associated with pin oak and chokeberry. It is also found in prairie habitats. Stebbins divided the species into varieties and, according to him, our Indiana specimens belong to var. brevior (Vasey) Stebbins. Hitchcock, in his Manual of Grasses, does not divide the species.