Perennial, loosely tufted, with long, slender rhizomes. Culms sometimes solitary, erect, up to 100 cm tall, 3–5-noded. Leaf sheaths loose, smooth, upper sheaths slightly inflated; leaf blades gray-green, 5–20 cm, 3–8 mm wide, abaxial surface smooth, adaxial surface scabrid; ligule 2–5 mm. Panicle broadly cylindrical, 4–8 cm, gray-green, blackish at maturity. Spikelets narrowly oblong, slightly urn-shaped, 4–6 mm; glumes herbaceous, upper part scabrid, keels densely pilose, glabrous or thinly pilose near margins or more generally on flanks, margins connate in lower 1/5, apices acute, slightly divergent (keel shallowly concave below apex); lemma slightly shorter than glumes, margins connate in lower 1/3–1/2, awned from slightly below middle, apex puberulous, obliquely truncate; awn usually included in spikelet, sometimes exserted up to 2.5 mm, usually straight, weakly geniculate with twisted column when longer. Anthers yellow, 2–3 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul–Sep. 2n = 28.