Arrhenatherum elatius is a perennial C3 grass (Waller and Lewis 1979), to 2 m, tufted.
Leaves alternate, blade 0.4-0.8 cm wide, flat, rough textured, dark dull green, ligules membranous, about 0.2 cm long, ragged.
Flower spikelets 2-flowered, papery, lower flower male, upper flower fertile, glumes slightly unequal, to 1 cm long, lemma hairy at base, that of lower flower with an awn 1-2 cm long, bent sharply outwards from low on back, the upper floret not awned, narrowly elliptic; inflorescence 10-30 cm long, pale, at first contracted then narrowly open; blooming and fruiting May-June.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Open areas, roadsides, meadows, disturbed sites.