Perennial; caespitose. Butt sheaths pubescent. Culms erect; 25-40 cm long. Culm-internodes smooth; distally glabrous, or pubescent. Leaves basal and cauline. Leaf-sheaths ribbed. Ligule an eciliate membrane; 4 mm long; membranous; obtuse. Leaf-blades erect to ascending; filiform; conduplicate; 15-30 cm long; 1 mm wide; stiff; glaucous. Leaf-blade surface scabrous; rough adaxially; glabrous. Leaf-blade margins scabrous.
Inflorescence a panicle; embraced at base by subtending leaf. Panicle contracted; elliptic; 10 cm long; bearing few spikelets. Primary panicle branches appressed. Spikelets solitary. Fertile spikelets pedicelled.
Glumes persistent; similar; with lower narrower than upper; exceeding apex of florets; thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate; 30-60 mm long; 1 length of upper glume; membranous; yellow; 1-keeled (very slightly); keeled below; 5-7 -veined. Lower glume apex setaceously attenuate. Upper glume lanceolate; 30-60 mm long; 1.7-2 length of adjacent fertile lemma; membranous; yellow; without keels; 5-7 -veined. Upper glume apex setaceously attenuate.
Fertile lemma linear; subterete; 15-20 mm long; coriaceous; 3(-5) -veined. Lemma margins convolute; covering most of palea; ciliate. Lemma apex awned; 1 -awned. Principal lemma awn geniculate; 150-300 mm long overall; with twisted column; deciduous; abscissing from top of lemma; limb plumose. Column of lemma awn glabrous. Palea linear; tightly convolute around flower; 0.8 length of lemma; coriaceous; 2 -veined; without keels.
Lodicules 3; lanceolate; membranous; acute.
Caryopsis with adherent pericarp; fusiform.
Europe: northern, central, southwestern, southeastern, and eastern. Africa: north. Asia-temperate: Siberia, Soviet Middle Asia, Caucasus, western Asia, China, and Mongolia.