Stem leaves are green above, glaucous beneath. Most stems have two male spikes, close together and often looking like one at first glance. Fruits are 2–2½ mm, roundish, with a very short beak, under 0.3 mm. They are densely packed on the spike, not loose and gappy like Carex panicea.
The lowest bract is about as long as the inflorescence on average. Female spikes are typically two, and can be short-stalked and upright, or longer-stalked and nodding.