Plants without short-creeping rhizomes. Culms 20–60 cm, 0.7–1.3 mm wide basally, 0.2–0.5 mm wide distally. Leaves: sheaths tight, green, fronts hyaline; ligules less than 2 mm, wider than long; widest leaf blades 0.9–1.5 mm wide. Inflorescences with 3–6 spikes, 2–8 cm × 2.5–6.5 mm; proximal internodes more than 2 times as long as proximal spikes; proximal bracts 1–11 cm; spikes with 2–5(–7) ascending perigynia. Pistillate scales hyaline with green midvein, ovate to circular-ovate, 1.2–1.9 × 0.9–1.6 mm, body 1/2 length of perigynium, apex obtuse, acute, or short-awned. Anthers 0.8–1.3 mm. Perigynia green, faces not veined, 2–3.4 × 0.8–1.3 mm, base of perigynium spongy, thickened, longitudinally striate adaxially, spongy region 0.5–1.1 mm, margins serrulate distally; beak 0.3–1 mm, apical teeth 0.1–0.4 mm. Stigmas coiled or twisted, 0.05–0.08(–0.09) mm wide. Achenes ovate to obovate, 1.4–2 × 0.8–1.3 mm. 2n = 52.
Phenology: Fruiting late spring–early summer.
Habitat: Dry to mesic deciduous or mixed forests, usually on sandy or rocky soils
Elevation: 100–1000 m
Ont., Que., Conn., D.C., Ga., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va.
The name Carex radiata has frequently been misapplied to C. appalachica.