Man. S.E. Fl., 184. 1933.
Plants perennial, cespitose or single, 30–70(–80) cm; rhizomes absent. Culms erect or excurved, lax, leafy, slender to wiry. Leaves overtopped by culm; basal leaves spreading, twisted, distal longer, erect or ascending; blades proximally flat, 1–3 mm wide, apex trigonous, subulate, tapering. Inflorescences: spikelet clusters 1–4, proximalmost widely spaced, spikelets elongate, open, turbinate or compactlobed hemispheric; branches erect to ascending; leafy bracts setaceous, exceeding proximal clusters, exceeded by distal clusters. Spikelets mostly dark brown to brown, globose to broadly ovoid, (2–)2.5–3(–4) mm, apex acute; fertile scales broadly ovate to orbiculate, 1.7–2.3 mm, apex obtuse to rounded or emarginate, midrib mostly included, sometimes excurrent as apiculus. Flowers: perianth bristles 6 or less, antrorsely barbellate, of various lengths. Fruits 1–3 per spikelet, 1.5–1–8 mm (–2 mm in var. pinetorum); body tumidly biconvex; surfaces transversely wavyrugose, intervals of vertically rectangular alveolae or transverserugosity indistinct, surface isodiametrically alveolate or cancellate; tubercle shortconic to patelliformapiculate.
Ala., Ark., Calif., Fla., Ga., Ind., La., Md., Miss., Mo., N.C., N.J., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., West Indies, Central America.
Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).
|1||Spikelets ovoid; fruit body scarcely transversely wavy rugose, instead with transverse, undulate rows of subisodiametric to very broadly rectangular lattices or alveolae.||Rhynchospora globularis var. pinetorum|
|1||Spikelets broadly ovoid to subglobose; fruit body distinctly transversely wavy-rugose, intervals composed of irregular rows of vertical, rectangular alveolae.||> 2|
|2||Perianth bristles not extending much beyond fruit midbody; tubercle low conic, distinctly narrower than rounded summit of fruit body.||Rhynchospora globularis var. globularis|
|2||Perianth bristles extending at least to fruit tubercle, sometimes to tip; tubercle depressed conic or patelliform, apiculate, nearly as broad as more truncate summit of fruit body.||Rhynchospora globularis var. saxicola|