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Annual, prostrate, often widely matted grass from fibrous roots; stems semi-solid, 60-150 cm long.
Sheaths open, smooth, keeled, the collars constricted, sometimes hairy; blades 2-6 mm wide, flat or folded; ligules 1-1.5 mm long, the fringes 2 to 4 times as long as the basal membranes.
Inflorescence of short, crowded, spikelike racemes; the spikelets 2-flowered, 5-6 mm long, tightly enclosed within and deciduous with spiny burs formed by the basal union of numerous sterile branches, 1, 2, or more per bur, the burs 5 to 10, 4-6 mm wide when pressed, finely hairy, the spines numerous, flattened, more or less fused at the base; lower glumes considerably reduced, narrow, 1 (3)-nerved, the upper ones usually shorter than the lower lemmas, pointed, 3-nerved; lower flowers sterile but usually with lemmas and paleas, the upper flowers perfect with lemmas firm; lodicules absent.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia