Perennial, shortly rhizomatous. Culms loosely tufted, erect or decumbent at base, 5–40(–60) cm tall, 3–4-noded. Leaf sheaths glabrous, upper slightly inflated; leaf blades broadly linear, 2–13 cm, 2–9 mm wide, the upper shorter than the lower, glabrous, apex acute; ligule 2–3 mm, obtuse. Panicle broadly cylindrical to ovoid, 1–6 × 0.6–1.2 cm, usually purplish; branches adnate to central axis. Spikelets oblong, 3–4 mm (excluding awns); rachilla extension absent; glumes oblong, membranous, scaberulous, lower softly hairy on margins, keel conspicuously pectinate-ciliate, apex truncate, cuspidate into a stiff, 1.5–3 mm, glabrous or ciliate awn; lemma ca. 2 mm, 5-veined, veins puberulent, apex truncate; anthers 1–1.5 mm. Caryopsis ca. 1.5 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun–Oct. 2n = 14, 28.
Por G. Davidse.
"Tufted, 2–5 dm, the culms smooth at the summit, the base not bulbous, but tending to be decumbent or shortly creeping; upper sheaths distended, especially near their middle; blades usually 3–6 mm wide, rough-margined; infl ellipsoid to thick-cylindric, 1–5 cm × 8–12 mm; glumes 2.5–3.5 mm, hispid-ciliate on the keel, tipped with an awn 1.5–3 mm, the thin margins usually purple; 2n=14, 28. Wet meadows and bogs; circumboreal at high latitudes, s. to the mts. of New England, and in n. Mich. and throughout the western cordillera; also in the colder parts of the s. hemisphere."