Plants densely to loosely cespitose; rhizomes thick, short. Culms to 60 cm. Leaves: blades 3-6 mm wide. Inflorescences longer than 15 cm, proximal internodes 100-250 mm; peduncles of proximal spikes commonly exserted less than 1 cm; proximal bracts with blade 40-125 mm, sheaths cylindric, 11-75 mm, mouth not purple-banded, 1.3-2.1 mm wide. Spikes 5-7; lateral spikes androgynous or pistillate, the proximal spikes erect to pendent, 9-20 × 5-8 mm; terminal spike staminate or androgynous, ± erect, 9-19 × 2.5-4.5 mm. Pistillate scales usually scarious with green to gold midvein, obovate to ovate, 2-4 × 1.2-2 mm, apex obtuse to acuminate or, sometimes, awned. Staminate scales gold with pale midvein with broad scarious margins, usually obovate, 2.8-4.3 × 1-2.4 mm, apex acute to short-awned. Anthers 1.4-2.2 mm. Perigynia spreading, green to gold, 11-16-veined, ovate to obovate, 3.1-4.5 × 1-1.6 mm, margins often ciliate distally, glabrous; beak distinct, 0.6-1.2 mm, apex white, ciliate, distance from beak tip to achene apex less than 1.4 mm. Fruiting late spring-early summer. Sphagnum bogs; of conservation concern; less than 90 m; Calif. Carex albida is similar to C. lemmonii and is now known from only one station in Sonoma County.