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..
Tall perennial grasses with flat leaf-blades, convolute above, and dense spike-like panicles.
Spikelets 1-flowered, the rachilla prolonged beyond the flower and hairy. Scales 3, rigid, chartaceous, acute, keeled; the 2 outer empty, the lower 1-nerved, the upper 3-nerved; third scale 5-nerved, with a ring of short hairs at the base, subtending a chartaceous 2-nerved palet and a perfect flower. Stamens 3. Styles distinct. Stigmas plumose. Grain free, loosely enclosed in the scale and palet. [Greek, sand-loving, from the habitat of these grasses.]
Arundo arenaria L. Sp. PI. 82. 1753. Calamagrostis arenaria Roth, Fl. Germ. 1: 34. 1788.
Glabrous, culms 2 -4 tall, erect, rigid, stout, smooth, arising from a long horizontal branching rootstock. Sheaths smooth, the lower short, crowded and overlapping, the upper longer; ligule a mere ring; blades"6'-1° long or more, rigid, attenuate into a long slender involute point, smooth beneath, scabrous above; spike-like panicle dense, 4'-12' in length, 6"-8" thick, its branches 1 1/2' long or less, appressed; spikelets 5"-6" long, the scales scabrous, about equal in length, the third usually with the rudiment of an awn just below the apex; basal hairs 1"-2" long.
In sands of the sea coast from Newfoundland to North Carolina, and inland along the shores of the Great Lakes. Also on the coasts of northern Europe. Reed- or Seashore-bent. Beach-grass. Spires. Sea Sand-grass, Sea-reed. Aug.-Sept.