Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the northern Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and eastern North America.
Habitat: From coastal marshes and moist prairies to alpine ridges, talus slopes, mountain meadows, and moist areas in the mountains in general.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Strongly tufted perennial, the culms several, hollow, 2-12 dm. tall.
Sheaths open, glabrous to scabrous; ligules acute or obtuse, at least 4 mm. long, often split, pubescent; blades stiff, usually involute, 1.5-3 mm. broad, scabrous on the lower side, with a few raised veins.
Inflorescence a panicle 8-25 cm. long, from open and drooping to narrow and erect; spikelets glistening, purplish to tawny, usually 2-flowered, but often with 3 flowers; glumes narrow, the first 1-nerved, 2.5-5 mm. long, the second 3-nerved, 3-6 mm. long; lemmas 2.5-4 mm. long, 5-nerved, the tip 4-toothed; awn attached near the base of the lemma, 2.5-4 mm. long; paleas shorter than the lemmas; rachilla prolonged beyond the uppermost flower.