This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Usually low annual grasses, with narrow leaf-blades and strict or curved elongated slender spikes. Spikelets 1-2-flowered, sessile and single in alternate notches of the jointed rachis. Empty scales 2, rarely 1, narrow, rigid, acute, 5-nerved; flowering scales much shorter, hyaline, keeled, one side turned to the rachis. Palets hyaline, 2-nerved. Stamens 3, or fewer. Styles short, distinct. Stigmas 2, plumose. Grain narrow, glabrous, free, enclosed in the scale. [Greek, referring to the narrow spikes.]
Species 5 or 6, natives of the Old World. Type species: Lepturus repens R. Br.
Culms 3'-12' long, decumbent, much branched, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths loose, shorter than the internodes; ligule 1/2" long, auriculate; blades 1/2'-2' long, 1" wide or less, usually involute, smooth beneath, rough above; spikes 1'-6' in length, slender, strict or curved; spikelets 2"-2 1/2" long; empty scales acute; flowering scales about 1 3/4" long, 1-nerved.
In waste places and brackish marshes, southern Pennsylvania to Virginia, near or along the coast. Adventive from Europe. Summer.