Plants densely cespitose, to 200 culms together; rhizomes appearing elongate in old clumps. Culms 40-110 cm; vegetative culms inconspicuous with 9-17 leaves mostly clustered near apex of culm. Leaves: sheaths abaxially green or with pale intervenal areas with scattered, horizontal green septa, adaxially hyaline band broad, smooth, summit concave to truncate, equaling to extending 2 mm beyond collar; ligules 1.8-4.8 mm; blades 4-6 per fertile culm, 2.5-35 cm × 1.8-4.2 mm. Inflorescences erect to slightly arching, compact to elongated, pale brown, 2.8-5.9 cm × 6-17 mm; proximal internode 3.5-12(-17) mm; 2d internode 3-9(-13) mm; proximal bracts scalelike, often with bristle tips shorter than inflorescences. Spikes (3-)4-7(-11), distinct, ovoid, 9.5-20.5 × 6-9 mm, base rounded to tapered, apex rounded. Pistillate scales pale brown with narrow yellow-green to brown midstripe prominent to tip, lanceolate, (3.7-)4-5.2 mm, (2.6-)2.9-3.7(-4.2) times as long as wide, reaching base to middle of perigynium beak, shorter than perigynia by (0.4-)0.6-1.4(-1.6) mm, margin hyaline, apex firm and herbaceous, flat or inrolled, with subulate tip or awned. Staminate scales acuminate. Anthers (1.8-)2.2-3.6 mm. Perigynia 15-80 on larger spikes, ascending, yellowish green to brown with paler margins, conspicuously 7-11-veined abaxially, faintly (0-)2-8-veined adaxially, wings with 1-4 veins, ovate, elliptic, or ± orbiculate, plano-convex, (4.5-)4.8-6.1(-6.3) × 2.5-3.8 mm, 0.5-0.7 mm thick, herbaceous, opaque with achene not clearly visible through adaxial face of perigynium, base rounded, margin flat, including wing 0.5-1.3 mm, smooth; beak yellowish green to pale brown, strongly flattened, (1.2-)1.5-2.1(-2.3) mm, serrulate-margined to apex, abaxial suture pale or copper-brown, distance from beak tip to achene (2-)2.3-3.3 mm. Achenes ovate to elliptic, 1.8-2.4 × 1.3-1.7 mm, 0.5-0.7 mm thick, apiculum to 0.4-0.9 mm. 2n = 60. Fruiting early summer. Seasonally wet to dry, grassy ditches, swales, and slopes, often in clayey soils; 100-300 m; Ark., Kans., Okla., Tex.