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..
Annual or perennial grasses with flat leaf-blades and spike-like or open panicles. Spike-lets deciduous, 2-flo\vered; lower flower perfect, upper staminate. Scales 4; the 2 lower empty, membranous, keeled, the first 1-nerved, the second 3-nerved and often short-awned; flowering scales chartaceous, that of the upper flower bearing a bent awn. Palet narrow, 2-keeled. Stamens 3. Styles distinct. Stigmas plumose. Grain oblong, free, enclosed in the scale. [Greek, alluding to the reference of these grasses to the genus Holcus.]
About 8 species, natives of the Old World. Type species: Holcus lanatus L.
Holcus lanatus L. Sp. PI. 1048. 1753.
Softly and densely pubescent, light green, culms 1 1/2°-3° tall, erect, often decumbent at the base, simple. Sheaths shorter than the internodes; ligule 1/2"-1" long; blades 1'-6' long, 2"-6" wide; spikelets 2" long, the empty scales white-villous, the upper awn-pointed; flowering scales 1" long, smooth, glabrous and shining, the lower sparsely ciliate on the keel, somewhat obtuse, the upper 2-toothed and bearing a hooked awn just below the apex.
In fields, meadows and waste places, Nova Scotia to Ontario and Illinois, North Carolina and Tennessee. Also on the Pacific Coast. Naturalized from Europe. Velvet Mesquite. Old White-top. Salem-, Rot-, Dart- or Feather-grass. Whites. Yorkshire-fog. White-timothy, Calf-kill. June-Aug.