Botanical description: This grass has often been confused with the preceding one. It differs from Red Top in the following essential respects.
It grows in bunches, owing to the fact that the rootstocks are very short and do not produce creeping runners. All the branches of the panicle, the main as well as the secondary ones, spread after flowering, and as the lower main branches are generally a little shorter than the middle ones, the outline of the panicle is more that of an egg than of a pyramid. The ligule is extremely short and sometimes wanting.
Geographical distribution: It is doubtful whether this plant, which has the same general geographical distribution in the Old World as has Red Top, is indigenous to North America.
Habitat: It occurs naturally in sandy or gravelly soil and is more adapted to dry conditions than is Red Top.
Agricultural value: There is about the same relation between the agricultural value of Agrostis vulgaris and that of Red Top as there is between the value of Sheep and Meadow Fescue. In other words, Agrostis vulgaris is a rather inferior grass which should not be used where more valuable grasses can be grown. The leaves and stems being rather short, the former generally crowded near the ground, it cannot be grown to advantage for hay. Its chief value is as a pasture grass on poor and dry soil.
Seed: The seed is like that of Red Top, though as a rule a little smaller and more yellowish. In many cases, however, it is almost impossible to separate the seeds of the two species.