Culms 12-35 cm. Proximal leaf blades green, 25-40 cm × 2-4.5 mm, smooth abaxially, scabrid adaxially. Inflorescences with staminate and pistillate flowers on different plants; spike 1, unisexual; pistillate spikes 30-80 × 2.5-6 mm; staminate spikes 20-50 × 4-6 mm. Pistillate scales obovate-oblong, 5.5-6.5 × 2.3-2.8 mm, proximal ones cuspidate, distal ones acuminate, awned. Staminate scales obovate-oblong, 6-7 × 1.2-3 mm, apex acuminate to cuspidate. Perigynia yellow-green, 3.5-5.5 × 1.3-1.7 mm, apex acute, sparsely pubescent towards black apex, beakless. Fruiting spring. Forests and forest openings; 100-500 m; Ala., Ind., Ky., La., Miss., Tenn.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
In Indiana in the unglaciated region only where it is local and largely confined to the northern half of the knob area (Chestnut Oak Upland). It is found on wooded hilltops under oak, chestnut, and beech, generally forming rather extensive colonies. Deam has noted that it "has the habit of growing in circular tufts with a hollow center" and from this characteristic the species may be readily recognized long after its flowering and fruiting season is past. It is the earliest sedge to bloom in the state, coming into flower in early April or even in late March.
Dioecious; stems 1-3 dm, cespitose from stout woody rhizomes, much shorter than the lvs; main lvs 3-5 mm wide; spike 1, linear, 2-4 cm, the basal scales usually sterile and somewhat elongate, the flowering scales usually purple with paler midnerve and narrow hyaline margins, the uppermost often short-cuspidate; perigynia narrowly oblong-obovoid, 3-angled, many-nerved, 4-5 mm, a third as wide, yellowish-green or suffused with purple, acute, hairy distally; achene 3-4 mm, filling the perigynium; no rachilla. Dry woods; s. Ind., Tenn., Ala., and La.; fl Mar., Apr.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.