Rhizomes to 1.5 cm or shorter, knotty. Culms loosely cespitose, 15--45 cm, base sometimes swollen. Leaves: basal leaves 4--15 cm x 2--7 mm, margins pilose to sparsely hairy, apex not callous. Inflorescences: glomerules 4--15, central glomerules sessile or nearly sessile, broadly conic or globose (often loosely flowered); peduncles straight, divergent by as much as 90°, to 9 cm; proximal inflorescence bract leaflike, not longer than inflorescence; bracts and bracteoles clear, variously cut. Flowers: tepals greenish to pale or dark brown, usually with clear margins and apex, 2.8--4 mm; anthers ca. 2--5 times filament length; stigmas 2--3 times length of styles. Capsules pale to dark brown, obovoid to subglobose, usually shorter than tepals. Seeds dark brown, globose, 1.2--1.6 mm; caruncle 0.5--0.6 mm. 2n = 12. Flowering and fruiting spring--early summer. Bluffs, wooded slopes, alluvial woods, streamsides, under hardwoods and occasionally in clearings; 50--800 m; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Miss., Mo., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va. Luzula echinata has knotty rhizomes to 1.5 cm; the bases of the culms are sometimes swollen. Flowers are characterized by stigmas that exceed styles by 2--3 times.
Some of the shorter branches of the infl widely divergent; glomerules capitate to broadly ovoid; anthers mostly 0.7-1.2+ mm long and (1.5-)2.4 times as long as the filament; 2n=12; otherwise much like no. 5 [Luzula multiflora (Retz.) Lej.]. Woods, thickets, and clearings; Ga. to Miss. and Tex., n. to n. N.J., Pa., s. O., and Io. (L. campestris var. e.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
[Deam recognizes two varieties in Indiana. The typical variety has short stamen filaments (half as long as the anther or less) and longer perianth (3 mm or more). This variety is] fairly common in southern Indiana in dry oak woods, especially on wooded slopes and steep river banks. [Deam's L. echinata var. mesochorea has longer filaments and shorter perianth (generally about 2.5 mm long). This taxon is] most widespread Luzula in Indiana; common south of the lake area and very common in the knob area. It is found in dry open woods, especially on white oak slopes, knobs or ridges, and occasionally in hard clay soil in fallow fields and clearings.