Many-branched perennial grass. Foliage is highly palatable but sparse and the plant is often inconspicuous when not in flower. This species is most easily identified from its inflorescence, which is a large (to 20 centimetres), open, irregularly branched panicle with a dense covering of hairs, which give the plant a distinctive bluish or purplish gleam in sunlight. As with other spear grasses, the small, pointy seeds have a long awn with a conspicuous bend in it. The panicles detach at maturity and are dispersed by wind.