Carex debilis is a perennial sedge, tufted, 0.25-1 m tall (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 1993+); looks rather grass-like, delicate, base purplish.
Leaves 0.2-0.4 cm wide; spikes slender, bracts leafy, often longer than spikes.
Flowers dry, tiny, staminate spike terminal, often with few perigynia at top, pistillate spikes 2-4, along upper half of stem, well separated, on slender stalks, loosely flowered, perigynia separated by internodes, perigynia to 0.8 cm, vaguely 3-sided, tapered at both ends, beak with 2 teeth, scales shorter than perigynia, membranous with green midrib, achenes 3-sided, 3 stigmas, on short basal stalk, style withering but may look permanent on immature achene; blooms May-June.
Wetland status: FAC.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Moist woods, soil pH 4.6-6.6, tolerant of shade, fire and anaerobic soil, intolerant of drought, salt (USDA, NRCS 2010).