Leaf blades are flat, usually smooth, but occasionally hairy, 1/2 to 1-1/2 wide, and 15 to 30 inches long. Leaf sheaths are usually densely hairy. Ligule is membranous with a margin fringed with fine hairs.
Stem is are erect, 2 to 10 feet tall, extremely variable, sometimes bending and rooting at the nodes, smooth to extremely hairy, branched or unbranched.Flowers or seed heads are 6 to 24 inches long with widely spreading branches. Flowers are somewhat blunt at the tip, and the seeds are minutely wrinkled
Roots are deep, dense, and fibrous.
Propagation is usually by seed, but occasionally by aboveground runners.