This grass is ¾–1½' tall and often tufted at the base, sending up multiple unbranched culms. It is a winter or spring annual. The culms are erect to ascending and sometimes decumbent at the base; they are terete, light green, and slender. Each culm has 1-3 alternate leaves along the lower half of its length. The leaf blades are ¾–2½" long and about 1/8" (3 mm.) across; they are dull pale green, hairless, and flat. Along the culm, these blades are erect to ascending, rather than widely spreading. The leaf sheaths are pale green to pale purplish green, finely veined, and hairless. The nodes are dark-colored and swollen. Each culm terminates in a spike-like inflorescence about 1½–3" long and ½" across; this stiff and erect inflorescence consists of 2 overlapping ranks of spikelets.