Erect perennial to 1.2 m high.
Leaves with ligule membranous, truncate, jagged, laciniate, 3–6 mm long; blade to 4.5 mm wide, grooved and scabrous on both surfaces.
Panicle dense, linear to narrow-elliptic in outline, sometimes slightly lobed, 2.5–15 cm long, branches clustered, appressed, the shorter branches bearing numerous densely imbricate spikelets. Spikelets 2–3.5 mm long, strongly laterally compressed. Glumes narrowly gaping, scarious towards the margins, unequal, 1-nerved, keeled, acute. Lemma 1.5–2.5 mm long, shorter than the glumes, truncate and minutely 4-toothed at the apex, scaberulous, 5-nerved, with a fine, dorsal awn attached c. 0.6 mm below the apex; awn straight, not or scarcely exceeding the lemma; callus minutely and sparsely barbed with hairs to 0.3 mm long. Palea 65% the length of the lemma.