Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest in Washington along the immediate marine coastline; Alaska to California, east across Canada to the Great Lakes region and northeastern North America.
Habitat: Coastal sand dunes, marshes, and headlands, where tolerant of salt water.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Strong perennial with thick rhizomes but forming large clumps, the culms stout, erect, 5-15 dm. tall, usually finely hairy above.
Sheaths open, glabrous; auricles developed on some leaves; ligules up to 1 mm. long; blades tough, flat, 6-15 mm. broad, with numerous prominent nerves.
Inflorescence a terminal, stout spike 15-30 cm. long and 1-2 cm. thick; spikelets usually two per node, 20-30 mm. long and 4- to 6-flowered; glumes lanceolate, acuminate, 15-25 mm. long, prominently 3- to 6-nerved, usually soft-pubescent; lemmas prominently nerved, 10-20 mm. long, acuminate but not awned, usually copiously soft-hairy; paleas about equal to the lemmas.