Rhizomatous perennial, culms ascending to erect, to 80 cm high, occasionally branched. Leaves glabrous or with a few hairs along the sheath and lower margins of the blade, often reddish; blade to 20 cm long and 5 mm wide, flat or folded, sometimes scabrous toward the tips; ligule c. 0.5 mm long. Inflorescence a terete or slightly compressed spike, 5–12 cm long; rachis rather corky and fragmenting at maturity; sessile spikelets 6–9 mm long, the outer glume acuminate, 5–9-nerved, the inner partly adhered to the rachis, slightly shorter than the outer; sterile and fertile lemmas similar, 2–3 mm shorter than glumes; palea about half as long as lemmas; pedicellate spikelets similar to sessile ones, but glumes slightly longer, both free, and at least the inner usually shortly hooked at apex. Flowers Dec.–Feb.
Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, MonT, MuF, MuM, NIS, OtP, RobP, SnM, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Scattered and locally common, usually on waterlogged or seasonally wet sites, rare and rarely fertile in the north-west (e.g. Hattah-Kulkyne area).
All occurrences of the species in southern Australia are referable to the typical variety; var. spathacea, with loose, spathe-like sheaths occurs in northern NSW and Qld.
|Bioregion||Occurrence status||Establishment means|
|Victorian Volcanic Plain||present||native|
|Central Victorian Uplands||present||native|
|Northern Inland Slopes||present||native|
|East Gippsland Lowlands||present||native|
|East Gippsland Uplands||present||native|
|New South Wales|
|Australian Capital Territory|