Distribution: East of the Cascades in Washington; central and western North America.
Habitat: Sagebrush-steppe, arid grasslands, forest edges, and other dry, open areas in the intermountain west.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Tufted perennial with short rhizomes, the culms puberulent, 1-2 m. tall in clumps up to 1 m. broad.
Sheaths open; auricles well-developed on some leaves; ligules 3-7 mm. long, puberulent; blades flat, 10-20 mm. broad, very tough, scabrous.
Inflorescence a terminal, stiff spike 12-20 cm. long, the spike sometimes compound; spikelets usually 3 per node, often one or more pedicillate; spikelets 4- to 6-flowered; glumes narrow, tapered from the base, 10-20 mm. long; lemmas 10-15 mm. long usually with awns 2-7 mm. long; paleas about equal to the lemmas.