Plants annual; usually tufted. Culms 15-80(120) cm, erect
or ascending, nodes glabrous. Leaves villous on the sheath
and blades; ligules 0.5-0.7 mm, truncate; blades 1-6.5 cm
long, 0.6-4 mm wide. Spikes 6-15(35) cm. Spikelets 9-20 mm,
with 3-6 florets; rachillas straight, proximal segments 2.6-4 mm,
distal segments to 1.8 mm. Glumes scabrous over the veins, margins
hyaline, unawned; lower glumes 3-5 mm; upper glumes 7-11
mm, about twice the length of the lower glumes; calluses glabrous; lemmas (3)5-8
mm, scabrous on the midveins, awned above the middle, awns 4.5-15 mm, scabrous,
twisted or geniculate; anthers 2-5 mm. Caryopses about 2.5
mm. 2n = 14.
Gaudinia fragilis is the most widespread species of the genus in the Mediterranean region. Its presence in the Western Hemisphere was first documented in 1991 by a collection from Sonoma County, California, where it was found growing on an open grassy hilltop in thin, rocky soil of open oak woodlands, in a region that has long been used for agriculture.