Piptochaetium avenaceum is a perennial grass 50 cm to 1 m tall, stems loosely tufted; sheaths shorter than internodes, ligule 0.2-0.3 cm.
Leaves of two types: basal leaves 20-30 cm long, 0.1-0.2 cm wide, usually inrolled, stem leaves 4-10 cm.
Flower spikelets 1-flowered, narrow, papery, base densely brownish-hairy and sharply pointed, glumes about 1 cm long, tips pointed, lemma dark brown at maturity to 1 cm long, finely hairy below, margins deeply inrolled to form a groove where they meet, tip extended into a long, twisted, bent awn, 4.5-7 cm long; inflorescence 10-20 cm long, open, loose with few flowers, branches slender with only 1 or 2 spikelets; blooms April-June.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open dry woods.