Tufted perennial; culms erect or geniculately ascending, 25-130 cm high, often robust, usually branched. Leaf-blades 15-30 cm long, 6-13 mm wide. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, of paired racemes each 4-14 cm long; intemodes and pedicels clavate, ciliate. Sessile spikelet broadly ovate, 5.6 mm long; lower glume coriaceous and nodular on the margins below, the back smooth and shining or faintly ruguose, membranous above, densely ciliate to quite glabrous, 2-keeled along its length; upper lemma with an awn 12-20 mm long. Pedicelled spikelet resembling the sessile or often much smoother, and on a pedicel about one-third the length of the internode.