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..
Perennial grasses with usually flat leaf-blades and showy, often silvery white, panicles, the axis short or elongated. Racemes usually numerous, the internodes of the rachis and the pedicels with manifestly thickened margins, the median portion thin and translucent, the margins ciliate with long hairs. Spikelets dorsally compressed. Sessile spikelets of 4 scales, perfect, or rarely the lower pair or pairs staminate or empty; first scale 2-keeled, the margins narrowly inrolled; second scale 1-nerved; fourth scale stipelike, the blade wanting, merging into a usually geniculate perfect, rarely imperfect, awn, or the awn rarely wanting. Pedicellate spikelets awnless, staminate and similar to the sessile ones, or empty and smaller than them. Stamens 3. Styles distinct. Stigmas plumose. [Greek, in reference to the hairs surrounding the spikelets.]
Not Muhl. 1817. Andropogon Torreyanus Steud. Nomencl. Ed. 2, 93. 1841. Andropogon saccharoides var. Torreyanus Hack, in DC.
Monog. Phan. 6: 495. 1889.
Culms erect, 1 1/2°-3 1/2° tall, simple or branched, glabrous, the nodes naked or barbed; sheaths glabrous, rarely pubescent, more or less glaucous; blades 3'-10' long, 2"-4" wide, long-acuminate, smooth and glabrous towards the base, scabrous on margins and at the apex, glaucous; racemes 1'-1 1/2' long, in a terminal long-exserted panicle 2'-4' long; joints of the rachis with a thin translucent median line; outermost scale of sessile spikelet 1 1/2"-2" long, about equalling the terminal hairs of the radiis-joints, lanceolate, acute, pubescent at base with long silky hairs; awn 4"-8" long, spiral, bent, scabrous; pedicellate spikelet reduced to a single narrow scale.