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Annual grass from fibrous roots; stems erect, with many nodes, 50-150 cm tall.
Sheaths cylindrical, smooth, densely fringed with long, fine hairs on the margins above the middle; blades flat to folded, 8-15 mm wide, 15-45 cm long, sparsely hairy at the base, pimpled on the upper surfaces, more or less pimpled on the lower surfaces; ligules fringed with long, white, silky hairs up to 3 mm long.
Inflorescence a cylindrical, nodding or nearly erect, spikelike panicle with the tips nodding, branched at the base, mostly 3-30 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, bearing numerous spikelets contiguously, or the basal few branches slightly spaced; spikelets 2-flowered, 2-3 mm long, each subtended by 2 to 4, green or blackish-green, short bristles that are from nearly as long as the spikelets to 4 times long as the spikelets, the hairs directed upwards; lower glumes 3-nerved, about as long as or 1/3 the length of the spikelets, the upper ones 5- or 7-nerved, 2/3 to 3/4 the length of the spikelets; lower flowers male or sterile, the upper fertile; fertile lemmas not distinctly cross-wrinkled, loosely surrounded by the sterile lemmas and upper glumes, tending to be shed separately from them.
Closely related to S. viridis.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia