Perennial; culms 50-150 cm high, erect, robust. Leaf-blades up to 35 cm long, 2.5-4.5 mm wide, bluntly acute to acuminate, glabrous or covered with sparse or dense tubercle-based hairs. Panicle ovate, 6-18 cm long, with rather stiff erect branches (or these sometimes capillary, flexuous and spreading) fulvously bearded at the tip, bearing short racemes of 2-3(-5) joints. Sessile spikelet narrowly oblong; lower glume 5-8 mm long, laterally compressed to a broadly rounded keel, this with a single row (rarely a second row present) of tubercle-based spines or cilia on each side, sometimes minutely hispidulous at the tip; upper glume hispidulous on the keel towards the tip, awnless, mucronate or with an awn up to 10 mm long; upper lemma minutely bidentate, with a shortly pubescent awn 12-20 mm long, rarely longer. Pedicelled spikelets 7-11 mm long, the lower glume bearing an awn 3.5-7 mm long; pedicels glabrous, two-thirds to three-quarters the length of the sessile spikelet.