Culms to 120 cm. Leaves: sheaths glaucous, fronts strongly veined, veins persisting as a pinnate network, apex thickened, truncate or distal sheaths concave; blades 40-75 cm × 4-8 mm, strongly scabrous on margins and adaxial surface. Inflorescences with 5-7 spikes, 20 cm; peduncle of lateral spikes to 5 cm; proximal bracts equaling inflorescences, 2-4 mm wide; lateral spikes with staminate spikelets at apex, pendent, 3-6 cm × 6-9 mm. Pistillate scales shorter and narrower than perigynia, apex retuse, awn to 3.5 mm. Perigynia ascending, red-brown, angles veined, faces veinless or indistinctly 3-4-veined, sessile, elliptic, 3.2-5 × 1.8-2.6 mm, base rounded, apex obtuse to tapered, densely papillose with minute translucent papillae giving grayish color, glaucous; beak 0.2-0.5 mm, often minutely bidentate, slightly thickened, teeth to 0.1 mm. Achenes ellipsoid, 2.5-3 × 1.5-2 mm, base not conspicuously broadened. Fruiting Jul-Aug. Stream or pond margins, seepage bogs, swamps, wet meadows, ditches, usually in sandy soils and seasonally wet areas; 0-800 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va. Grazed or severely disturbed plants of Carex glaucescens sometimes flower in August or later; these plants have condensed inflorescences and androgynous terminal spikes.
Much like no. 173 [Carex joorii L. H. Bailey]; pistillate spikes 3-6, mostly nodding, remote, often staminate at the tip; pistillate scales oblong to obovate, retuse, the thin sides purple-brown or reddish, the strong midvein prolonged into a cusp often as long as the body; perigynia broadly obovoid or rhomboid, very glaucous when young, 3.5-5 mm, 2-ribbed, otherwise only obscurely nerved or nerveless. Swamps and wet woods, chiefly on the coastal plain; se. Va. to Fla. and La. (C. verrucosa, misapplied)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.