Short-lived perennial or annual. Culms much branched, 50–150 cm tall. Leaf blades linear, 10–20 × 0.3–1.5 cm, hispid. Inflorescence linear, 10–25 × 0.8–1 cm, yellow or purplish; axis angular with sharp decurrent wings below the involucres, these densely packed, often speading at right angles at maturity; involucre with numerous bristles obscuring the single spikelet, densely ciliate in lower half with crinkled matted hairs, longest bristle 1–2 cm. Spikelet narrowly lanceolate, 3–4.5 mm; lower glume absent or a small triangular scale; upper glume as long as spikelet, 5-veined, obtuse, ciliolate, apiculate; lower floret staminate or neuter, lemma similar but slightly shorter, obtusely 3-lobed; upper floret 2/3 spikelet length, cartilaginous, smooth, shiny, readily deciduous at maturity; anthers without hairs at tip. 2n = 54.
'Flora of China @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.