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..
[Ctenium Panzer, Deutsch. Akad. Muench. 1813: 288. pl. 13. 1814.]
Tall pungent-tasted grasses, with flat or convolute narrow leaves and a curved spicate inflorescence. Spikelets borne pectinately in two rows on one side of the flat curved rachis, i-flowered. Lower 4 scales empty, the first very short, hyaline; the second, third, fourth and fifth awned on the back, the latter subtending a perfect flower and palet, the uppermost scales empty. Stamens 3. Styles distinct. Stigmas plumose. Grain oblong, free, loosely enclosed in the scale. [Greek, in allusion to the curved spike.]
Culms 3°-4° tall, erect, simple, smooth or somewhat scabrous. Sheaths shorter than the inter-nodes, rough; ligule 1" long, truncate; blades 1'-6' long, 1"-2 wide, flat or involute, smooth; spike terminal, solitary, curved, 2'-4' long, the rachis extended into a point; spikelets about 3" long; second scale thick and rigid, awn-pointed, bearing just above the middle a stout horizontal or recurved awn; third, fourth and fifth scales membranous, scabrous, awned from below the 2-toothed apex, the fifth subtending a perfect flower, the others empty.