Culms 15-75 cm, sparsely pilose. Leaves: ligules longer than wide; blades 1.5-3 mm wide, pilose. Inflorescences: lateral spikes 5-15(-19) × 2-4 mm, proximal distant; terminal spike gynecandrous, at least 1/2 flowers pistillate, (5-)11-20 mm. Pistillate scales ovate, 1.3-2.4 × 0.6-1.4 mm, apex acute to acuminate, with awn to 0.5 mm, as long as perigynia. Staminate scales ovate, 2.4-4.1 mm, apex obtuse to acuminate. Anthers 0.7-1.3(-1.6) mm. Perigynia ascending, obscurely 5-13-veined, obovate-circular, trigonous in cross section, 1.7-2.4 × 1-1.5 mm, densely pilose; beak absent. Achenes 1.4-1.8 × 0.8-1.1 mm. 2n = 54.
Much like no. 160 [Carex virescens Willd.]; lvs often overtopping the stems; terminal spike 1-2 cm; pistillate spikes 1-2 cm, ellipsoid or thick-cylindric, densely fld throughout; anthers 0.7-1.5 mm; body of the pistillate scales much shorter than the perigynia, often ending in a cusp equaling the perigynium; perigynia obovoid, obscurely trigonous, 1.8-2.5 mm, blunt. Dry woods and fields; N.S. to Wis., s. to N.C. and Ark. (C. virescens var. minima)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.