Tufted, 2-8 dm, fertile stems mostly roughened on the angles; basal sheaths purple; lvs not glaucous, those of both fertile and sterile shoots 1-5 mm wide, or the latter larger, to 10 mm wide; angles of the bract-sheaths usually minutely ciliate-serrulate; terminal spike staminate, 0.6-2.5 cm, subsessile to evidently pedunculate; pistillate spikes 2-4, scattered but none basal, slender, 1-3 cm; pistillate scales cuspidate to short-awned; perigynia 4-18, only slightly overlapping (or the lowest scarcely so), 2.2-3 mm, finely many-nerved as well as 2-ribbed, obtusely trigonous, ellipsoid to obovoid, abruptly contracted to a short, abruptly bent beak with an entire orifice; achene trigonous; 2n=40. Sandy or rocky woods and open, sometimes disturbed sites, often calciphile; Que. and Vt. to Ga. and nw. Fla., w. to Wis., e. Nebr., and e. Okla. (C. laxiflora var. gracillima; C. ormostachya, largely northern, with the angles of the bract-sheaths merely granular)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.