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..
Leafy sedges, mostly perennial by rootstocks, the spikelets small, clustered in terminal, or terminal and axillary fascicles, or sometimes interruptedly spicate. Flowers monoecious, the staminate and pistillate spikelets separated or borne in the same clusters. Fertile spikelets
1-flowered. Staminate spikelets many-flowered. Scales imbricated all around, the 1-3 lower and sometimes also the upper ones of the fertile spikelets empty. Perianth none. Style 3-cleft, slender or sometimes swollen at the base, deciduous. Ovary supported on a disk (hypogynium), or this wanting. Stamens 1-3. Achene globose or ovoid, obtuse, crustaceous or bony, white in our species. [Greek, in allusion to the hard fruit.]
About 200 species, natives of tropical and temperate regions. Besides the following, some 8 others occur in the southern United States. Type species: Scleria flagellum-uigrdrum Berg.
Spikelets in terminal, or terminal and lateral clusters; achene supported on a hypogynium.
Hypogynium supporting 8 or 9 small tubercles under the achene.
Hypogynium covered with a rough white crust.
Achene reticulated or irregularly rugose.
Culms erect or ascending; achene not hairy; peduncles short.
Culms spreading; achene hairy; peduncles filiform.
Hypogynium supporting 6 distinct tubercles.
Hypogynium supporting 3 entire, notched or 2-lobed tubercles.
Spikelets interruptedly glomerate-spicate; no hypogynium.
Scleria oligantha Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 167. 1803.
Rootstocks thick, hard, clustered; culms slender, erect, sharply 3-angled, nearly smooth, 1 1/2°-2 1/2° tall, the angles somewhat winged. Leaves smooth or slightly rough at the apex, 2"-3" wide, the lower short, acute, the upper elongated; clusters terminal, usually also 1 or 2 axillary, and filiform-stalked; bracts slightly cil-iate or glabrous; achene ovoid, obtuse but sometimes pointed, bright white, smooth, shining; hypogynium a narrow obtusely triangular border supporting 8 or 9 small tubercles under the achene.
In moist soil. District of Columbia and Virginia to Florida, Arkansas and Texas. June-Aug.