Distribution: British Columbia south to southern California, east to Alberta and Texas.
Habitat: Dry and rocky to moist habitats, from along the coast to inland desert plains and prairies, and in the mountains to above tree line.
Flowers: May - July
Growth Duration: Perennial
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Tufted perennial, the culms sub-glabrous to pubescent, 1-6 dm. tall.
Sheaths open; auricles less than 1 mm. long, sometimes lacking; ligules membranous, barely 0.5 mm. long; blades flat to folded or involute, 1-4 mm. broad.
Inflorescence a single terminal spike 3-15 cm. long, often partly included in the upper sheath, the rachis readily disarticulating; spikelets 1- to 6-flowered, usually 2 per node, borne flatwise on the rachis; glumes 1- or 2-nerved, simple to bifid, tapering to 1-2 divaricate awns 3-10 cm. long; florets varying from all fertile to all but one sterile; lemmas scabrous to puberulent, 5-nerved, the main nerve extending into an awn about equal to the glumes, the 2 lateral nerves often extended and bristle-like; paleas 2-nerved, the nerves often extended into bristles up to 5 mm. long.