Carex festucacea is a perennial, tufted, stems slender, 50-100 cm tall, stems longer than leaves.
Leaves of two types: basal leaves bladeless, blades of upper leaves increasingly elongate, 0.2-0.5 cm wide, top of sheath membranous on upper side.
Flower spikes 4-10, stalkless, crowded at top of stem but distinct, the top ones overlapping, all alike, oval to rounded, often widest near top, 0.6-1.6 cm, finely spiky from beaked tips of perigynia, male flowers at base of spike, female flowers (perigynia) flattened, margins winged, about 0.3 cm long, 0.2 cm wide, scales membranous, brownish, shorter and narrower than perigynia, achenes about 0.1 cm flattened; inflorescence erect to arching (not nodding), 3-6 cm long, bracts hair-like or not apparent; blooms June-July.
Wetland status: FAC.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open moist areas.