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 formosa Dewey, Am. Journ. Sci. 8: 98. 1824.
Culms slender, smooth, erect, 1°-2 1/2° tall. Leaves flat, more or less pubescent, the basal 1 1/2"-3 1/2" wide, shorter or longer than the culm; lower bract similar to the shorter culm-leaves; spikes 3-5, all gynaecandrous, oblong-cylindric, dense, 1/2'- 11 /4' long, 2 1/2' in diameter, filiform-stalked, spreading or drooping, the lower distant; perigynia oblong-ovoid, glabrous, ascending, swollen, faintly few-nerved, 2" long, 1" thick, tipped with a very short, emarginate beak; scales lanceolate or ovate, green, with scarious margins, mostly acute or obtuse, and much shorter than the perigynia, or the lower short-awned and equalling them; stigmas 3.
Carex oxylepis Torr. & Hook. Ann. Lye. N. Y. 3: 409, 1836.
Culms slender, smooth, or nearly so, erect, 1°-2 1/2° tall. Leaves flat, 1 1/2"-3 1/2" wide, pubescent, especially on the sheaths, shorter than or exceeding the culm, the lower bract similar but narrower; spikes 4 or 5, linear-cylindric, 3/4-2' long, 1 1/2"-2" in diameter, rather densely many-flowered, filiform-stalked and at maturity spreading or drooping, the terminal one normally gynaecandrous; perigynia oblong-oval, obscurely 3-angled, round-tapering at base, slightly swollen, 1 3/4"-2" long, scarcely 1" thick, punctate, several-nerved, rounded and abruptly minutely beaked, the orifice emarginate at apex; scales ovate-lanceolate with broad white scarious margins, acuminate or short-awned, about one-third shorter than the perigynia; stigmas 3.
Southern Missouri to Tennessee and South Carolina, south to Texas and Florida. April-May.
Carex Davisii Schwein. & Torr. Ann. Lye. N. Y. 1: 326.
1825. Carex Torreyana Dewey, Am. Journ. Sci. 10: 47. 1826.
Similar to Carex oxylepis, culms stouter, 1 1/2°-3° tall. Leaves 1 1/2-3" wide, flat, pubescent, especially on the sheaths, the basal ones shorter or longer than the culm; lower bract foliaceous, often overtopping the spikes; spikes 3-5, linear-oblong or oblong-cylindric, clustered near the summit or the lower one distant, dense, 1/2'-1 1/2' long, 3" or less in diameter, all filiform-stalked and at length spreading or drooping, the terminal gynaecandrous; perigynia oblong-ovoid, much swollen, glabrous, strongly several-nerved, 2"-2 1/2" long, rather more than 1" thick, tipped with a very short, minutely 2-toothed beak; scales ovate-lanceolate, long-awned, spreading, shorter or longer than the perigynia; stigmas 3.
In moist thickets and meadows, Massachusetts to Minnesota, south to Georgia, Kentucky and Texas. May-July.