Tufted perennial to 1.3 m high, with extravaginal innovations from a contracted rootstock.
Leaves with sheath glabrous; ligule densely ciliate at the top, c. 1 mm long; blade 2.5–7 mm wide, usually smooth.
Panicle 10–50 cm long. Spikelets in 2 even rows, ± crowded, 2.5–3 mm long, acute. Lower glume c. 50% the length of the spikelet, ± acute, usually 3-nerved; upper usually 7–9-nerved, 75% to almost as long as the spikelet, obtuse. Lower lemma sterile, c. equalling the spikelet, 5-nerved; palea absent or very small. Upper lemma about equalling the spikelet, ovate to elliptic, acute, apiculate, striolate, finely transversely rugulose for the lower 75%.