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..
Tufted herbs with the habit of Eriocaulon, the leaves linear. Scapes several-angled, sheathed at the base by an entire bract about as long as the leaves; heads globose. Receptacle pilose. Flowers androgynous. Perianth of 3 segments. Staminate flowers with 3 stamens united below into a thickened tube which is coalescent with a body, variously regarded as a corolla or as a rudimentary pistil, bearing at its apex 3 fimbriate or entire lobes alternate with the filaments; anthers 1-celled, minute. Pistillate flowers with a sessile 3-celled, 3-ovuled ovary surrounded by copious woolly hairs at the base; styles united below, spreading above into 3 divisions which are 2-parted, there being thus 6 stigmas. [Greek, referring to the woolly scapes of some species.]
Eriocaulon anceps Walt. Fl. Car. 83. 1788.
L. Michauxii Kunth, Enum. 3: 497. 1841.
Leaves glabrous or sparingly pubescent, 1'-3' long, tapering to an obtuse callous tip. Scapes slender, 2-20' tall, 2-4-angled, clothed with long soft appressed upwardly pointed hairs; sheaths equalling or shorter than the leaves; heads globose, 1-3" in diameter; involucral bracts ovate or oblong, shorter than the flowers, usually brown; flowers about 1" high; scales brown, spatulate, surrounded at the base by the yellowish silky hairs of the receptacle and white-bearded at the apex; perianth of the staminate flowers short-stalked, pubescent at the base, woolly and fimbriate at the summit; segments of the pistillate perianth white, glabrous, obtuse; ovary densely villous around the base; seeds strongly ribbed.
In moist pine barrens, Virginia to Florida. The white pistillate flowers mingled with the brown staminate ones impart a mixed gray and dark appearance to the heads. March-June.