Plants perennial; usually dioecious; strongly stoloniferous, sometimes mat-forming. Culms 1-30 cm, erect, solid, mostly unbranched, those of the pistillate inflorescences much shorter than those of the staminate inflorescences; nodes mostly glabrous. Leaves basally tufted, not clustered or strongly distichous; sheaths open, rounded, often sparsely pilose near the collar; ligules membranous or of hairs; blades usually flat basally, curling when dry, glabrous or sparsely pilose, apices involute. Staminate inflorescences terminal, usually exceeding the upper leaves, panicles of 1-3(4) racemosely arranged, unilateral, pectinate branches; branches not enclosed at maturity, spikelets densely crowded in 2 rows. Staminate spikelets with 2 florets; glumes unequal, glabrous, 1- or 2-veined; lemmas 3-veined, glabrous, unawned; anthers brownish to red or orange. Pistillate inflorescences terminal, panicles, partially hidden within bracteate leaf sheaths; branches 2-3(4), 2.5-4.5 mm, burlike, with 3-5(7) spikelets; disarticulation at the base of the panicle branches. Pistillate spikelets with 1 floret, almost completely enclosed by the upper glumes; lower glumes irregular and reduced; branch axes and lower portion of upper glumes globose, white, indurate, terminating in 3 awnlike teeth; lemmas firmly membranous, glabrous, 3-veined, unawned or shortly 3-awned. x = 10. Name a contraction of Bubalochloë, from the Greek boubalos, buffalo, and chloë, grass.
Dioecious; staminate spikes 1-3, short, terminating slender culms, the spikelets 2-fld, with thin glumes nearly as long as the lemmas, the first glume lance-subulate, 1-veined, the second ovate, 1- or 3-veined, the lemmas narrow, acute, 3-veined, hardly longer than the palea; pistillate spikes short and head-like, in a pair subtended by the dilated, many-veined bases of the 2 uppermost lvs and ±concealed by the foliage, each consisting of 3-5 closely imbricate, 1-fld spikelets of which only the modified second glumes are visible from the outside, the first glume (concealed) thin, 1-veined, sometimes obsolete, the second glume thick and indurate, convex on the back, contracted above and ending in 3 stiff, erect, narrowly triangular lobes nearly as long as the body, its margins folded over and enclosing the lemma, which is lance-ovate, indurate, and inconspicuously 3-lobed at the summit; stoloniferous, sod-forming perennial. Monotypic.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.