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..
Dark green, stoloniferous, culms phyllopodic, erect or reclining, smooth, 3-12' long. Leaves 1/2'-1 1/2" wide, clustered near base and shorter than the culm; lower bract subulate, 1/4'-1' long, very short sheathing; stami-nate spike sessile or very short-stalked, usually large and conspicuous; pistillate spikes 1-3, close together or slightly separate, oblong, 5-20-flowered, 3"-6" long, 2"-3" in diameter, sessile or the lower short-stalked; perigynia obovoid, sharply 3-angled, short-pubescent, brown, about 1 1/2" long, abruptly acute, tapering at base; scales ovate, brownish with a lighter center, cuspidate or the lower rough-awned, about equalling the perigynia.
Maine to District of Columbia, locally naturalized from Europe. Native also of Asia. Pink-grass, Iron-grass. May-June.
41. 1889. Carex pedicellata Britton, Mem. Torr. Club 5: 87. 1894. Carex pedicellata var. Wheeleri Britton, Mem. Torr. Club 5:
Light green, not stoloniferous, fibrous-rooted, culms usually well-developed, slender, aphyllopodic, roughish above, erect or reclining, 6'-20' long. Leaves 1"-2" wide, shorter than the culms; lower bract narrowly linear or subulate, 1/4-2' long; staminate spike 2"-12" long, from sessile to strongly peduncled; pistillate spikes 2-4, short-oblong, 3-10-flowered, sessile and usually separated, or the lowest short-stalked; perigynia obovoid, about 1" long and a little more than i" in diameter, pale, short-pubescent, slightly 1-ribbed on each side, tipped with a subulate 2-toothed beak one-fourth the length of the body; scales green, ovate or narrower, acuminate to obtuse, nearly equalling the perigynia; stigmas 3.
In dry soil, Nova Scotia to British Columbia, south to Georgia, Ohio and Nebraska. Ascends to 5700 ft. in Virginia. May-July.
Carex pennsylvanica Lam. Encycl. 3: 388. 1789.
Strongly stoloniferous, culms slender but strict, erect, smoothish to very rough, 3'-15' tall. Leaves 1/2"-1 1/2" wide, the basal shorter than or sometimes exceeding the culm, the old sheaths persistent and fibrillose; lower bract subulate or scale-like, rarely over 1/2' long; staminate spike sessile or very short-stalked, 1/2'-l' long; pistillate spikes 1-4, short-oblong, 4-20-flowered, sessile, contiguous or the lower somewhat distant; perigynia broadly obovoid, about 1" long and more than \" in diameter, short-pubescent, to nearly glabrous, 1-ribbed on two sides, strongly narrowed at the base, tipped with a more or less bidentate beak from one-fourth the length of to as long as the body; scales ovate, purplish, acute or cuspidate, equalling or a little longer than the perigynia; stigmas 3.
In dry soil, New Brunswick to North Dakota, North Carolina and Tennessee. Very variable. Ascends to 5000 ft. in North Carolina. May-June.
Carex heliophila Mackenzie, of prairies and plains from Illinois to Alberta and New Mexico, differs by larger perigynia, 1" wide, circular (not triangular) in cross-section.