This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Horizontal stems extensively creeping 1'-4' below the surface of the ground, terete, sparingly branched, with numerous erect or assurgent repeatedly-forked aerial stems, the branches of these glaucous, narrow, somewhat flattened, with very numerous, crowded, erect divisions; ultimate divisions leafy throughout, the leaves 4-ranked, minute, imbricate, appressed, strongly decurrent, nearly equal and alike, those of the under row scarcely differing from the others, those of the lateral rows a little thicker, with the tips usually incurved downward; peduncles 3'-5' long, bracteate, usually 2 (casually 3) times dichotomous at the summit; spike and sporophyls similar to those of the preceding.
In dryish open woods or clearings, usually in sandy soil, northern Maine to Minnesota and Georgia. Also in Europe. Early August.