Carex silicea is a perennial sedge 30-80 cm tall, stems stiff, wiry, usually pale whitish-green, densely clumped.
Leaves of two types: basal leaves bladeless, blades of stem leaves 0.2-0.4 cm wide, rigid, equal to or shorter than stems, base of blade slightly lobed, sheaths with green veins on side opposite blade (ventral).
Flower spikes 3-7, usually well separated along top of stem, whitish to silvery-brown, elliptic with a slender base, 0.6-1.5 cm long, male flowers at base of spike, scales of female flowers narrowly egg-shaped, almost as long as the perigynia, but narrower, pale tan or silvery, tip pointed; perigynia appressed, flattened, 0.4-0.5 cm long, 0.2-0.3 cm wide, margins winged, tapered to a short, flat, finely toothed beak; achene (seed) lens-shaped about 0.1 cm; June-Aug.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Coastal sand and rocky, open habitats.