Herbs, short-lived perennial, cespitose, 1.5--7 dm. Culms 1--30. Leaves basal, (1--)2--3; auricles 0.2--0.4(--0.6) mm, scarious; blade flat, 10--30 cm x 0.5--1 mm, margins entire. Inflorescences 5--15(--30)-flowered, usually somewhat loose, 1--5 cm; primary bract usually shorter than inflorescence. Flowers: chiefly along inner side of branches; bracteoles 2; tepals greenish, lanceolate, 3.3--4.4 mm; outer and inner series equal, apex acuminate; stamens 6, filaments 0.5--0.9 mm, anthers 0.4--0.8 mm; style 0.1--0.2 mm. Capsules tan or light brown, 3-locular, ellipsoid, (3.3--)3.8--4.7 mm, nearly equal to tepals. Seeds tan, ellipsoid to lunate, 0.5--0.6(--0.7) mm, not tailed. 2n = ca. 80.
Flowering and fruiting spring. Exposed sites, usually with well-drained sandy soil, often associated with shallow bedrock; N.S., Ont.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va.
Stems loosely cespitose, 3-6 dm; basal lvs flat or involute, narrowly linear, 8-20 cm, usually less than a third as long as the stems; auricles pale, membranous, gradually rounded at the summit; invol lf inconspicuous, commonly shorter than the infl; branches of the infl ascending, commonly incurved above, each with 3-8 secund, prophyllate fls; tep acuminate, subequal, 3-4 mm, the sep lanceolate, the pet lance-ovate; anthers 6, longer than the filaments; fr trilocular, oblong-ovoid or short-cylindric, 2.6-3.3 mm, blunt or truncate; seeds 0.5 mm, merely apiculate. Usually in clay soil; Me. to s. Ont., s. to Ga.; also s. O. to Mo., Kans., Tenn., and Ark.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Known in Indiana from a single collection: wet clay border of a cattail pond in a fallow field 3 miles east of Livonia, Washington County, June 17, 1935, F. J. Hermann no. 6705. It has been reported from Putnam County by Wilson but no specimen could be found to substantiate the report.