Herbs perennial, cespitose, to 1 m; rhizomes scaly; offshoots cormose. Culms erect to leaning, smooth except in inflorescence. Leaves: all sheaths hispid-hirsute, sometimes also hirtellous; principal blades linear, 8-20 cm, abaxially puberulent, hispid-hirsute, adaxially hispid-hirsute-ciliate, scabridulous. Inflorescences in clusters of terminal spikelets or from 1-3 penultimate nodes, proximalmost involucral bract longest, exceeding inflorescence, distal 1-2 bracts shorter. Spikelets ovoid to cylindric-lanceoloid, 1-2 cm, apex acute; fertile scales 2.5-3.5 mm; cusp excurved, more than 1/2 length of scale, scabrid; ribs 3-5(-7). Flowers: perianth bristles reaching base of perianth blades or beyond, retrorsely barbellate; perianth blades narrowly to broadly ovate, uniformly compressed or distally tumid, 1 mm, base 3-ribbed, apex incurved, acuminate; anthers 3, 1 mm. Achenes: stipe shorter than perianth stipe; body angles wirelike, pale, faces deep brown to chestnut brown, faintly cross-lined, 1 mm. 2n = 46. Fruiting summer-fall. Wet acid substrates, bogs, seeps, ditches, pond and lakeshores, savanna, and flatwoods; 0-500 m; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Md., Miss., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Okla., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va. Fuirena squarrosa is most similar to F. pumila in perianth except it is perennial; to F. breviseta except its distal sheaths are hirsute, not glabrous; and to F. bushii except its perianth blade is flatter and the anthers shorter. Plants of the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains and inland to adjacent provinces east of the Mississippi River usually have closely set cormose rhizome buds.
Rhizomatous perennial to 10 dm, the stems arising from axillary, cormose offshoots; sheaths all hispid-hirsute; larger blades 8-20 cm נ4-10 mm; hispid-ciliate and scabrous or hairy on the surfaces; spikelets to 20 mm, in 1-3 clusters; scales 2.5-3.5 mm, with 3(5) strong median nerves convergent and exserted to form a spreading-recurved awn more than half as long as the scale; bristles antrorsely barbellate, reaching to the base or even the tip of the pet-blades, these ovate, usually incurved-acuminate; anthers 3, ca 1 mm; 2n=46. Moist or wet, often sandy places; L.I. to n. Fla., w. to Tenn., Ark., and Tex., mainly on the coastal plain with us.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.