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Dry to mesic prairies, meadows, woodland edges.
MA and NY to MI and KS, south to VA, MS, and TX.
Tufted perennial, 30-80 cm, tinged red-purple at the base; leaf sheaths densely short-hairy all around; leaf blades hairy to sometimes nearly glabrous above the base; terminal spike pistillate at the top, staminate below; pistillate scales lanceolate, often minutely pilose, long-acuminate into a cusp or awn usually protruding from the spike and often surpassing the perigynium; perigynia glabrous, 2.4-3.3 mm, spreading, about as thick as wide, short-pointed, conspicuously nerved.
Fruiting June to July
Wetland indicator: FAC
This species resembles C. swanii except it is about twice the size and has glabrous perigynia. Carex caroliniana, which is found only as far north as PA and NJ, is quite similar but its leaf sheaths are more or less glabrous ventrally and its pistillate scales are obtuse to short-cuspidate rather than long acuminate.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of
Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY
© Michael Hough 2018