This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The habitat of this plant is roadsides, fields, and waste places, etc. The plant has the grass habit. The plant is softly downy (hence mollis). The stems are rounded. The leaves are broad, soft, with rough edges. The sheaths are round, softly hairy. The ligule is short. The flowers are in an erect or nodding, rigid, egg-shaped panicle, close, branched, nearly simple. The spikelets are flattened at the border, egg-shaped, oblong, with conical tips, downy. The empty glumes are egg-shaped, acute, with strong nerves. The florets are closely overlapping as long as the straight awn. The flowering glumes are 6-10, downy, falling, broadly and bluntly angled above the middle, opaque. The top of the upper glume is half-way to the top of the sixth floret. The anthers are three times as long as broad. The plant is 1-3 ft. high, flowering from May to August, and is a herbaceous annual.