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 debilis Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 172. 1803.
C. debilis var. pubera A. Gray, Man. Ed. 5, 593. 1867.
Culms slender, slightly rough above, lax or erect, l°-3° high. Leaves shorter than culm, light green, 1"-1 1/2" wide; lower bracts similar to the culm-leaves, the sheaths glabrous; staminate spike more or less stalked; pistillate spikes 2-4, narrowly linear, 1'-2' long, 1 1/2"-2" wide, not approximate or but little so, weakly erect or drooping on slender peduncles, rather loosely 8-20-flowered; perigynia lanceolate, sessile, glabrous or puberulent, membranous, few-nerved, rather noticeably inflated, 3-angled, 3"-4 1/2" long, 3/4" wide, tapering into a subulate hyaline-tipped bidentatebeak nearly 1"long; scales ovate, obtuse, strongly white-hyaline-margined, one-third to one-half length of perigynia; stigmas 3.
Culms slender, rough above, erect or lax, 4'-3° high. Leaves usually shorter than the culm, light green, 1"-2" wide; lower bracts similar to the culm-leaves, the sheaths glabrous; staminate spike short-stalked, sometimes partly pistillate; pistillate spikes 2-4, narrowly linear, 3/4-2 1/2' long, 1 1/2-2" thick, loosely or alternately 12-25-flowered, filiform-stalked and spreading or drooping or sometimes erect; perigynia spindle-shaped, glabrous, membranous, few-nerved, from scarcely to noticeably inflated, 3-angled, 2 1/4"-3 long, less than 1" thick, tapering into a short, hyaline-tipped, 2-toothed beak; scales ovate or oblong, obtuse, acute or short-cuspidate, scarious-margined,. one-half as long as perigynia or longer, usually rusty-tinged; stigmas 3.
In woods, Newfoundland to Wisconsin, Virginia, the mountains of North Carolina and Kentucky. Several slightly differing varieties have been described. Hybridizes with C. Swanii. May-Aug.
Carex arctata Boott; Hook. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 227. 1840. Carex arctata Faxoni Bailey, Bot. Gaz. 13: 87. 1888.
Glabrous, culms slender, erect, 1°-2 1/2° high, roughish above. Leaves flat, roughish-margined, much shorter than the culm, the basal ones 2 1/2"-5" wide; staminate spike solitary, short-stalked; pistillate spikes 2-5, linear, 1'-3' long, 1 1/2"-2" thick, loosely 15-45-flowered, erect, ascending, or filiform-stalked, and at length drooping, the lower one usually remote; perigynia lanceolate, strongly stipitate, deep green, rather strongly few-nerved, narrowed at each end, 1 3/4"-2 1/4" long, less than 1" thick, 3-angled, tapering into a short, hyaline-tipped, 2-toothed beak; scales ovate, cuspidate or short-awned, about one-third shorter than the perigynia; stigmas 3.
In dry woods and thickets, Newfoundland and Quebec to Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan. May-June.
Carex Knieskernii Dewey, is probably a hybrid with C. castanea. C. arctata also hybridizes with C. Swanii.