Plants densely cespitose; rhizome internodes 1.8-2.5 mm thick. Culms yellow-brown to dark brown at base, 15-60 cm. Leaves: sheaths hispidulous; blades green, widest blades (3-)3.4-5.4(-6.5) mm wide, glabrous abaxially or sparsely hispidulous on midrib. Inflorescences 0.19-0.48 of culm height; peduncles of lateral spikes smooth or barely scaberulous; peduncles of terminal spikes (4.2-)7.5-37(-43) mm, much exceeding lateral spikes; proximal bract with sheath tight, abaxially scabrous, sheath front apex convex, elongated (0.6-)1.6-4.9(-6.6) mm beyond apex; ligules 3.3-5 mm; distal bract usually much exceeding terminal spike. Spikes 3-5, separate or distal 2-4 spikes overlapping; lateral spikes pistillate, with 2-7 perigynia, 6-29 × 3.8-6.8 mm, ratio of spike length (in mm) to flower number = 3.5-4.8; longest terminal spikes 14-34(-42) × 1.3-3(-3.5) mm. Pistillate scales (4.1-)5.6-9.4(-11.6) × 1.6-2.6(-3.3) mm, margins whitish, denticulate, apex with awn 1.1-6.8 mm. Staminate scales 5.2-6.9 × 1.5-1.7 mm. Anthers 3.4-4.2 mm. Perigynia distichously imbricate, 52-59-veined, unwrinkled, obovoid or narrowly obovoid, obtusely triangular in cross section, (4.5-)4.6-5.6(-6.2) × 1.9-2.2(-2.3) mm, (2.1-)2.3-2.8(-3) times as long as wide, dull, base gradually tapered, apex abruptly contracted; beak excurved, (0.5-)0.8-1.3 mm. Achenes obovoid-ellipsoid, 3.2-3.9(-4.2) × (1.6-)1.8-2.1 mm, tightly enveloped by perigynia; stipe bent 45-70°, 0.4-0.6 mm; beak bent more than 90°, 0.3-0.5 mm. Fruiting spring-summer. Mesic, usually rocky, deciduous forests, usually with highly diverse vascular plant communities, often in calcium-rich loams on slopes above streams; 60-800 m; Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., D.C., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., Pa., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Carex hitchcockiana is infrequent and local. It often grows with C. albursina, C. jamesii, and C. oligocarpa.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
In calcareous or neutral soils; common in rich woods and moist ravines and on river banks; rarely in dry, sandy woods. It is often associated with Carex Jamesii, C. oligocarpa, C. blanda, and C. gracillima.
Much like no. 134 [Carex oligocarpa Willd.], brownish at base; lvs wider, to 7 mm wide; sheaths hispidulous; bracts distinctly roughened with short stiff hairs; pistillate scales 4.7-9 mm; perigynia obovoid-fusiform, tapering gradually to the base and abruptly to the straight or minutely outcurved beak, 4.3-5.9 mm, finely many-nerved; achene with a minute, sharply bent beak. Rich moist woods; Mass., Vt., and s. Que. to Minn., s. to Va. and Ark.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.