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..
Caespitose and little stoloniferous, culms filiform, erect to nearly prostrate, rough above, 3'-20' long. Leaves elongated, 1/2"-l 1/4" wide, from much shorter than to exceeding the culms; bracts short; staminate spike 2"-6" long, sessile, sometimes not overtopping the upper pistillate one, but usually rather prominent; pistillate spikes 1-4, mostly close together and sessile, 1 1/2-3 1/2" long, 4-12-flowered; perigynia oblong-ovoid, short-pubescent, about 1" long, 1/2" thick, strongly narrowed at the base, tipped with a subulate minutely 2-toothed beak commonly one-half the length of the body; scales ovate, green or purplish-brown, acuminate or cuspidate, about as long as the perigynia; stigmas 3.
In dry soil, Nova Scotia to western Ontario and Manitoba, south to Georgia and Texas. May-July. Very variable.
C. novae-angliae Schwein. Ann. Lye. N. Y. 1: 67. 1824.
Loosely caespitose and stoloniferous, culms filiform, erect or reclining, 2 1/2"-12" long. Leaves about i" wide, soft, elongated, usually exceeding the culms; staminate spike short-stalked, very narrow or almost filiform, 2"-8" long, 1/2" wide or less; pistillate spikes 1-3, distant, subglobose, 2-10-flowered, sessile or the lower short-stalked; lower bract filiform, short or rarely overtopping the spikes; perigynia narrowly obovoid, about 1" long and i" thick, short-pubescent, tipped by a subulate 2-toothed beak about one-fourth the length of the body; scales ovate, greenish-brown, acute or cuspidate; stigmas 2 or 3.
In wet shaded places, New Brunswick to Maine, Massachusetts and New York. Summer.
Loosely caespitose and short-stoloniferous, the culms smooth or nearly so, erect, 5'-2o' tall. Leaves 1 1/2" wide or less, soft, much shorter than the culms, the lower sheaths but little fibrillose; lowest bract absent or short; staminate spike sessile and usually exceeded by upper pistillate spikes, 1 1/2" long or less; pistillate spikes 2-4, subglobose, 2-8-flowered, closely contiguous or the lowest little distant; perigynia oblong-obovoid, 1 1/2"-2" long, 1/2" in diameter, short grayish pubescent, 1-ribbed on two sides, strongly narrowed at base, abruptly tipped with a biden-tate beak one-fourth the length of the body; scales broadly ovate, reddish-brown with broad white hyaline margins, short-acuminate to ob-tusish, all (except lower) but half the length of perigynia; stigmas 3.
Open woods and banks. Quebec to Alaska, south to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, " Carolina" and Minnesota.