Perennials, Aquatic, leaves emergent, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome elongate, cree ping, stems distant, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly closed, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches sprea ding, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence lax, widely spreading, branches drooping, pendulous, Inflorescence a panicle with narrowly racemose or spicate branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets with 8-40 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glumes 1 nerved, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemma similar in texture to glumes, Lemma coriaceous, firmer or thicker in texture than the glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex trunca te, rounded, or obtuse, Lemma awnless, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea longer than lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 2, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
Culms usually clustered, stout and erect, to 15 dm; lvs 8-12 mm wide; ligule 2-4+ mm; infl 2-4 dm, much branched, usually nodding at the tip; spikelets 4-6.5 mm, 5-9-fld, slightly flattened; rachilla-joints 0.6-1 mm; glumes membranous or scarious, pale or white, acute, the first 1.2-1.9 mm, the second 1.5-2.4 mm; lemmas usually purple, narrowly ovate, with prominently raised veins, gradually tapering from below the middle to the obtuse firm tip; anthers (2)3, 0.5-1 mm; 2n=20. Swamps, marshes, brooksides, and shallow water; Que. and N.S. to Va., w. to the Pacific.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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