Culms are erect and 25–60 centimetres (10–20 in) long, with grey-green leaf-blades filiform and involute, ranging from 4–30 cm (2–10 in) long by 0.5–1 millimetre (0.02–0.04 in) wide, i.e. bristle like. The ligules of basal leaves are 0.4–0.8 mm (0.02–0.03 in) long and blunt, while those of culm leaves are longer, up to 2 mm (0.08 in), and more pointed.
The roots and shoots are very closely packed together at the base of the plant producing a white, tough, highly reflective feature. Thespikelets are very slender and loosely overlapping in two rows each side of the spikelet axis. Each lemma is tipped with a short awn.