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..
Carex straminea Willd.; Schk. Riedgr. 49. f. 34. 1801. Carex tenera Dewey, Am. Journ. Sci. 8: 97. 1824.
Culms very slender, roughish above, 1°-2 1/2° long, the top often nodding. Leaves 1" wide or less, long-pointed, shorter than the culm; bracts short or the lower bristle-form and exceeding its spike; spikes 3-8, subglobose or slightly obovoid, 2"-2 1/2" thick, light brown or greenish, separated on the commonly zigzag rachis, or contiguous, usually clavate at base; staminate flowers basal; perigynia widely spreading to ascending, narrowly to broadly ovate, green, 1 1/2"-2" long, 3/4"-l 1/4" wide, strongly several-nerved on the outer face, fewer-nerved or nerveless on the inner, wing-margined, much distended over achene, tapering into the rough 2-toothed beak; scales lanceolate, acute, somewhat shorter and narrower than the perigynia; stigmas 2.
In woods, New Brunswick to British Columbia, Kentucky, Arkansas and California. June-July.
C. mirabilis Dewey, Am. Journ. Sci. 30: 63, pi. Bb. f. 92.
Culms erect or sometimes weak and spreading, triangular, roughened above, 2°-3 1/2° high, in dense clumps. Leaves 1 1/4"-3" (averaging 2") wide, much shorter than the culm; lower one or two bracts somewhat developed; spikes 4-12, green or brownish-tinged, blunt, with 10-30 perigynia, subglobose, 3"-4 1/2 long, 2 1/2"-4" wide, usually clavate at base, separate or aggregated into a head 1-2' long and 5" wide or occasionally in a moniliform head; perigynia spreading, thickish, ovate, wing-margined, rounded at base, 1 1/2 '-2" long, 3/4"-1" wide near base, distended over achene, conspicuously nerved On outer, fewer-nerved or nerveless on inner face, tapering into a rough 2-toothed beak about half the length of body; scales ovate, nearly width of but shorter than perigynia.
Woodlands, Quebec to North Carolina, Kansas and Manitoba and in the western mountains.
Strongly caespitose, the culms stout, stiff, 6-15 high, slightly roughened on the angles above. Leaves flat, 1 1/2"-2" wide, usually much shorter than the culm; head i' long, short-oblong or ovoid, of 3-8 densely clustered ovoid-oblong or subglobose gynaecandrous spikes 2"-4" long, 2"-3" wide, each with 10-25 closely appressed perigynia; bracts small or not developed; perigynia ovate, brownish, much flattened and thin, but distended over achene, about 2" long and 1" wide, few-nerved on outer, nerveless on inner surface or nearly so, round-tapering at base, abruptly narrowed into a serrulate obscurely bidentate beak about one-third length of body; scales ovate, obtuse to acute, slightly shorter and narrower than perigynia, brownish-black with strongly developed white hyaline sometimes incurved margins; stigmas 2.
Labrador and Greenland. Also in Lapland and in southern South America. July-August. Closely related to Carex festiva Dewey of the Rocky Mountain region.