Culms 25-60 cm, scabrous distally, pilose. Leaf blades to 4-8 mm wide. Spikes: lateral spikes in distal 1/2 of stem, 5-17(-22) × 4-6 mm; terminal spikes 8-20 × 1.8-3 mm. Pistillate scales 3-veined, obovate-circular, 3-5 × 1.2-2.5 mm, apex acuminate, proximal scale almost as long as perigynia, with awn 0.5-2 mm. Perigynia 3.5-5 × 1.5-1.8 mm. Achenes sessile, 2.5-2.8 × 1.2-1.5 mm. 2n = 50.
Loosely tufted, 3-6 dm; lvs soft and flaccid, softly hairy, 3-7 mm wide, the 2 mid-lateral veins conspicuous on the upper side; spikes 2-4, approximate or the lower somewhat separate; lowest bract sheathless, with blade surpassing the spike; upper bracts smaller; terminal spike staminate, slender, 1-2 cm; lateral spikes pistillate, sessile or short-peduncled, 8-15 mm; pistillate scales obovate, with broad hyaline margins and green midvein excurrent into a short awn nearly or quite equaling the perigynium; perigynia trigonous, hairy, nerveless, the obovoid body 2.6-3.5 mm, abruptly rounded into a slender erect beak 0.8-1.3 mm; achene trigonous, filling the perigynium. Woods; N.B. and Que. to Minn., s. to Md., W.Va., Ky., Mo., and e. Kans.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.