Plants perennial, without rhizomes, forming tufts or small
clumps. Flowering stems 30–80 cm long, erect, circular in cross‑section,
glabrous. Leaf sheaths rounded or nearly so, glabrous, the ligule 0.5–2.0 mm
long, truncate and somewhat uneven on the margin. Leaf blades 5–20 cm long, 2–6
mm wide, flat, glabrous or nearly so. Inflorescences 8–20 cm long, open, the
lowermost nodes with 4–8 branches, these spreading or nodding at maturity.
Spikelets 3.0–4.5 mm long, with 2–5 fertile florets. Lower glume 1.3–2.7 mm
long, lanceolate, sharply pointed at the tip, with broad, thin margins, 1‑nerved,
roughened along the midnerve. Upper glume 1.7–3.5 mm long, oblong‑ovate,
sharply pointed at the tip, with broad, thin margins, 3‑nerved, roughened
along the midnerve. Lemmas 2.1–3.5 mm long, elliptic, bluntly pointed at the
tip, 5‑nerved, short‑hairy along the keel and the outermost pair of
lateral nerves, often also hairy on the other lateral nerves and between the
nerves, and with a tuft of long, cobwebby hairs at the base. Anthers 0.8–1.4 mm
long. Fruits 1.2–1.5 mm long, reddish brown. 2n=28. April–June.
Common nearly throughout the state (eastern U.S. west to Wisconsin and Texas). Bottomland forests, mesic upland forests, and banks of streams
and rivers; also shaded roadsides and moist, disturbed areas.