Plants annual or perennial; cespitose, with many innova-tions, not rhizomatous, or with poorly developed rhizomes. Culms 15-95 cm, erect or geniculate at the base, sometimes rooting at the lower nodes; nodes 3-6. Sheaths glabrous; ligules 2-6 mm; blades 3-29 cm long, 3-8 mm wide, adaxial surfaces slightly scabridulous. Racemes 8-35 cm, with 6-13 spikelets; internodes 1-6 cm; pedicels 1-5.5(9) mm, ascending to spreading. Spikelets 15-60 mm, ascending to spreading, with 7-20(30) florets, lower florets bisexual, upper florets pistillate, terminal florets sterile. Glumes lanceolate to broadly ovate; lower glumes 1-4.5 mm; upper glumes 2-6.5 mm, 1-3-veined; rachilla internodes 1-2.8 mm long, 0.2-0.5 mm thick, with a glandular swelling at the base; lemmas 4.5-7.5 mm, 7(9)-veined, veins distinct, often prominent, apices truncate or emarginate, unawned or awned, awns to 11 mm; paleal keels scabridulous, each with a 0.5-2.5 mm triangular, winglike appendage, often denticulate beyond the appendage; anthers 2.5-4 mm. Caryopses 2.5-3.1 mm.
Pleuropogon californicus is a Californian endemic with two varieties.