Carex swanii is a perennial sedge, tufted, 50-100 cm, slender, often reddish at base.
Leaves about as long as flowering stems or longer, sheaths and leaves finely hairy, often appearing slightly silvery (Gargiullo pers. obs.).
Flower spikes 2-4, 1-2 cm long, narrowly cylindrical, densely flowered, pale grayish-green, perigynia finely hairy, beakless, terminal spike with male flowers at base, female flowers (perigynia) above; achenes 3-sided; inflorescence bracts leaf-like but narrow, longer than spikes; blooms June-July.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Occasional.
Habitat: Upland forest understory, disturbed woods, also in rarely mowed, shady lawns, shade tolerant.
Notes: Fed upon by the larvae of Satyrodes spp. butterflies, pillbugs (Sphenophorus spp.) and seed bugs. Seeds eaten by numerous birds and some mammals (Hilty 2006.)