Herbs perennial, rhizomatous, 20-60 cm, glabrous; rhizomes elongate, often forking, scaly; corms absent. Culms spaced along rhizome, erect, slender, wandlike, subterete, nodes swollen. Leaves mostly sheath; principal blades cusplike, thickened, rarely over 4 mm. Inflorescences strictly terminal; spikelets 1 or 2-5, sessile in clusters, exceeding short-linear subtending bract. Spikelets ovoid to lance-ovoid, 7-10(-15) mm, apex blunt; fertile scales ovate to obovate, 2.5-3.5 mm, ciliate; mucro erect, 1/2 or less length of scale; median ribs mostly 5. Flowers: perianth bristles equaling or slightly longer than perianth stipes, retrorsely barbellate; perianth blades ovate, as long as claws, 2-2.5 mm, base thinner, 3-ribbed, apex compressed-conic, apiculate; anthers linear-oblong, 2 mm. Achenes: body angles pale, wirelike, faces lustrous red-brown or chestnut brown, 1 mm; beak narrow, linear, distally papillate or scabridulous. 2n = 46. Fruiting summer-fall. Sands and peats, inner edges of brackish marsh, interdunal swales, mostly along seacoast; 0-100 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., Tex.; West Indies (Cuba).
Rhizomatous perennial 2-6 dm; herbage essentially glabrous; sheaths loose, oblique at the orifice but virtually bladeless; spikelets 7-10(-15) mm, in a single terminal cluster of (1)2-5 subtended by a sheathing short-bladed bract; scales 2.5-3.5 mm, with at least 5 strong median nerves convergent to form a stiff, erect, scabrid mucro less than half as long as the scale; bristles retrorsely barbellate; pet-blades ovate, acutish-apiculate; anthers 3, ca 2 mm; 2n=46. Sandy or sandy-peaty marshes, swales, and seeps, sometimes in slightly brackish sites; along the coast from N.C. to Fla., Tex., and Cuba; disjunct in s. Ill.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.