Tufted perennial to 6 m high; culms erect, to 4 cm diam., with prominent leaf scars, axillary bud and root ring above each node.
Leaves with orifice silky with hairs 3–7 mm long; ligule membranous, triangular, 4–5 mm long, apex obtuse, erose; blade to 3 cm wide.
Inflorescence 40–55 cm long, to 20 cm wide; rachis scabrous or smooth; axils silky with hairs to 0.5 mm long. Peduncle silky with hairs c. 0.5 mm long. Spikelets 3–4 mm long, borne in pairs, 1 sessile and 1 pedicellate, each spikelet subtended by a ring of silky hairs 4–12 mm long; florets 2, the lower floret sterile, the upper floret bisexual. Lower glume c. 4 mm long, upper margin sometimes with hairs < 0.5 mm long; upper 3.5–4 mm long, glabrous, upper margin often with hairs < 0.5 mm long. Upper sterile lemma 2.5–4 mm long; palea absent. Upper bisexual lemma absent; palea linear, 1.5–3.5 mm long.