Secale cereale is an annual or biennial, C3 grass (Waller and Lewis 1979) 60 cm to 1.2 m tall, cm, usually pale gray-green, branched from base.
Leaves alternate, flat, 0.3-0.7 cm wide.
Flower spikelets 2-flowered, borne flat against the axis of the spike along either side; glumes 0.8-1.5 cm, keeled, hairy on keel and veins, lemmas 1-1.6 cm, awn 2-7 cm, at tip; inflorescence a spike, 6-15 cm long, stout, nodding, bristly.
Wetland status: NL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Planted for temporary erosion control on restoration sites. Generally not persisting. A poor competitor, soil pH 4.5-8.2 (USDA, NRCS 2010).