Culms erect, (4.7-)7.1-14.4 cm, 1/5-2/5 of total plant height. Leaves: basal sheaths pale brown to dark brown; blades green, much exceeding culms, 1.2-4.6 mm wide, herbaceous, margins green, smooth or scabrous. Lateral spikes 0-2(-3), basal, on erect or spreading (rarely drooping) peduncles. Terminal spikes with staminate portion 7-56-flowered, (5.4-) 9.6-20.1 × 0.7-1.6 mm; pistillate portion spike 2-4(-6)-flowered. Pistillate scales green, margins hyaline, white, tinged reddish brown, (0.9-)1.2-2.4 mm wide, not more than 1.5 times as wide and not concealing perigynia, apex attenuate into green awns; distal scales with hyaline margins 0.3-0.8 mm wide, apex acuminate, awnless, or scabrous-awned to 5.7 mm. Staminate scales green or tinged with pale brown, ovate, 2.5-4.1 × 1.6-2 mm, margins free but enfolding scales above, hyaline, white, apex obtuse, erose. Anthers 1.1-1.4 mm. Perigynia (3-)4-9 per spike, pale green to pale brown, often speckled reddish brown, narrowly ovoid or lance-ovoid, (7-)7.5-8.9(-10.8) × 1.5-2.3 mm, tightly enveloping achenes, apex gradually tapering; beak (3.6-)4.1-5(-6.4) mm, scabrous. Stigmas filiform, flexuous, long, thin, strongly papillose. Achenes brown, oblong, (2.1-) 2.5-3.1(-3.3) × (1.4-)1.5-1.9(-2.1) mm. Fruiting spring-summer (late Mar-mid Jul). Acidic to neutral clays, often high in potassium and magnesium, in moist to dry mesic, open, deciduous forests, ravines; 50-500 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss., S.C., Tenn., Va.