Fringe-rushes might be encountered as single plants or as significant colonies growing on road-sides or in flatwoods. There are about a dozen species in Florida (Wunderlin, 2003). They look like small clumps of grass except for their distinctive inflorescences. Their spikelets do not have bristles. They are eaten by water birds. Fringe-rushes occur throughout the majority of the U.S., eastern Canada, and in PR and the Virgin Islands (Kartesz, 1999).
Fringe-rushes are sedges. Stems tufted, tall, flattened or angled, to 3 ft. tall; leaf blades narrow, grass-like, stiff, basal, with sheaths; inflorescences erect with few leaf-like bracts, branched, with clusters of spikelets; spikelets terminal on branchlets, ovoid, pointed, no bristles, scales spiral and overlap; flowers tiny, white, several per spikelet; nutlet rounded, 2- or 3-sided.
View the herbarium specimen image from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.