Culms 40-135 cm, scabrous. Leaf blades 14-50 cm × 3.3-10.3 mm. Inflorescences: peduncle of pistillate spike 1.4-6.9 cm; proximal bract 3.7-10.9 mm wide; pistillate spikes 2-5; the proximal 3.5-11.5 cm × 4.2-6.8 mm. Pistillate scales (including awn) 3.4-11.2 mm. Perigynia divergent to ascending, ellipsoid to obovoid, 1.8-3.7 × 1.2-2.5 mm, apex rounded or obtuse; beak 0.1-0.3 mm. Achenes variously constricted. 2n = 66, 68. Fruiting Jun-Aug. Swamps, floodplain forests, wet meadows, marshes, bogs, stream edges, margins of lakes and ponds, roadside ditches; 0-1500 m; Man., N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Carex crinita var. crinita is sympatric and often syntopic with C. gynandra over a significant portion of its distribution; hybridization between the two taxa has been observed. Carex crinita var. paleacea (Wahlenberg) Dewey is a misapplication of the epithet to long-awned extremes of C. crinita var. crinita.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Common in swampy woods and thickets; frequent in swales, sloughs, ditches, and swamps.