Plants without conspicuous rhizomes. Culms 20-90 cm, 1.5-3 mm wide basally, 0.9-1.1 mm wide distally. Leaves: sheaths tight, green, fronts hyaline, yellowish and thickened at mouth; ligules to 3 mm, as long as wide; widest leaf blades 2.5-4.5 mm wide, sometimes papillose adaxially. Inflorescences with (3-)5-10 spikes, 1.5-3.5 cm × 8-15 mm; proximal internodes equaling or shorter than proximal spikes; proximal bracts 1-5 cm; spikes with 8-20 ascending or spreading perigynia. Pistillate scales hyaline or brown with green, 3-veined center, ovate, (2.4-)3-4.3 × (1-)1.6-3 mm, body slightly shorter to longer than perigynium and as wide, apex awned to 1.5-3.5(-4) mm. Anthers 2.2-2.5 mm. Perigynia pale green, pale yellow, or pale brown, 9-15-veined abaxially, 3.5-5 × 2.2-3 mm, margins serrulate distally; beak 0.8-1.2 mm, apical teeth 0.4-0.6 mm. Achenes suborbiculate, 1.9-2.5 × 1.5-2 mm. Fruiting late spring-early summer. Dry prairies, forests, roadside ditches, often in calcareous soils; 100-500 m; Ala., Ark., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Miss., Mo., Nebr., Okla., Tenn., Tex.