Culms densely tufted, central, erect or ascending, 28-44 cm × 1.4-1.8 mm. Leaves: basal sheaths purple or slightly purple; sheaths 2-24 mm; blades erect or ascending, green or yellow-green, midrib developed adaxially, 2 lateral veins developed abaxially, flat, 12-28 cm × 3.5-12 mm, overwintering dead leaves lateral to new clumps, smooth adaxially. Inflorescences: peduncles of lateral spikes 0-6.4 cm; of terminal spike 0.2-2.6 cm. Bracts 1.4-12.4 cm × 1-6 mm, angles of bract sheath smooth or minutely papillose, bract blade of distal lateral spikes linear. Spikes 4(-5) per culm; lateral spikes (15-)19-33 × 3.4-4 mm; internodes in proximalmost spikes 3.3-14 mm; terminal spike linear, 6-25 × 2-3 mm. Pistillate scales 2.8-3 × 2-2.4 mm, apex apiculate or aristate. Staminate scales oblong ovate, 3.5-4.5 × 0.8-1.2 mm, margins hyaline or brownish, apex obtuse or acute. Anthers 2.4-2.8 mm. Perigynia 6-18 per spike, separate or loosely overlapping, finely, conspicuously (22-)25-32-veined, broadly obovate, 2.2-3.3 × 1.2-1.6 mm; beak curved, 0.1-0.3 mm. Achenes ovoid, 2-2.8 × 1-1.4 mm. Fruiting spring-summer. Moist to dry deciduous, evergreen, or mixed deciduous-evergreen forests, frequently sandy gravel or disturbed soils; 0-1000 m; N.B., Ont., Que.; Conn., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.Y., Pa., Vt., Va., Wis.