Culms densely tufted, central or lateral, ascending or slightly decumbent, 45-62 cm × 0.5-1 mm. Leaves: basal sheaths tan or light brown; sheaths green, sometimes glaucous, 4-88 mm; blades green, sometimes glaucous, midrib and 2 lateral veins developed, flat or slightly corrugate, 30-46 cm × 3-14 mm, blades of overwintering leaves smooth or, rarely, sparsely papillose abaxially. Inflorescences: peduncles of proximal spikes 0-5 cm, arising from proximal 1/3 of culms, 1.4-3.3(-5.3) times as long as spikes they subtend; of terminal spikes 0.4-12 cm. Bracts 0.6-14 cm × 0.8-6 mm, bract blades of distal lateral spikes linear, narrower than spikes, widest bract blade of distalmost lateral spike 0.5-3.4 mm wide. Spikes 3(-4) per culm; lateral spikes 22-62 × 3-5 mm; distal lateral spikes separate; terminal spike linear to linear-clavate, 22-32(-36) × 2-3 mm. Pistillate scales 3.4-5 × 1.2-2.2 mm, apex aristate, apiculate, or acute. Staminate scales oblong-ovate, 3-5 × 1.2-2 mm, margins hyaline or, occasionally, light brown, apex obtuse or acute. Anthers 3-3.2 mm. Perigynia 6-18 per spike, scattered to loosely overlapping, ratio of longer lateral spike length to perigynia number 1.9-3.4, ascending, finely, conspicuously (22-)25-32-veined, elongate, (3.4-)3.9-5.1 × 1.2-2 mm; beak straight or slightly curved, 0.6-1.7 mm. Achenes elongate-obovoid, 2.2-2.8(-4.6) × 1-1.8 mm. 2n = 36, 40.
Tufted, 2-6 dm; fertile stems ascending, sharply triangular but not winged, smooth or nearly so; basal sheaths white or light brown; lvs of the sterile shoots 7-14 mm wide, of the fertile shoots somewhat narrower; terminal spike staminate, 2.5-3.5 cm, on a peduncle 0.5-12 cm; pistillate spikes 2 or usually 3, 2-6 cm, slender, on short to elongate ascending peduncles, scattered but none basal; pistillate scales acute to short-awned; perigynia 6-18, only slightly or scarcely overlapping, 3.5-5 mm, finely many-nerved as well as 2-ribbed, obtusely trigonous, fusiform, tapering to an ill-defined, often somewhat outcurved beak with an oblique, entire orifice; achene trigonous. Dry to mesic woods; L.I. and Pa. to Fla. w. to Tenn. and Tex. (C. laxiflora var. angustifolia) Perhaps properly to be included in C. laxiflora.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.