Rhizomatous perennial forming lax clumps. Stems 30-50 cm, smooth, terete, clothed at base with smooth brownish or greyish remains of leaf sheaths. Ligule 1-1.5 mm, rounded to truncate. Leaf blades 2-4 mm broad, flat. Panicle pyramidal, 5-12 cm; lowest branches in whorls of 3-5. Glumes unequal, lower 1-veined, upper prominently 3-veined. Lemma hairy on keel and marginal veins, sparsely lanate at base; lowest 3-4 mm. Fl. 5-8. Alpine pastures, moist meadows, Pinus forest clearings, streamsides, lakesides, nr s.l.-2800 m.
Europe, N. Africa, Asia; introduced into N. America.