Range: Maine to Manitoba, southward to Florida and Mexico. Habitat: Sandy soil; prairies, in the interior; salt marshes along the coast; banks of streams, low meadows.
In many places where the soil may be in danger of washing, the strong, creeping rootstocks of this grass make it valuable as a binder, and its hard, thickly tufted stalks serve as a check to drifting sands in the marshes along the coast. But as forage it is practically worthless, except when very young, and it is an undesirable occupant of meadows and pastures.
Culms three to five feet tall, smooth, often glaucous. Sheaths smooth; blades a foot or more long, about a half-inch wide, smooth, flat, slightly rough on the margins. Panicles very large, erect, six to twenty inches long, spreading, pyramidal, purple when in bloom. Spikelets one-seeded, ovate, pointed, about a sixth of an inch long, very numerous.
Where practicable the rootstocks may be destroyed most readily by cultivation of the ground for one or two seasons. Early and frequent cutting is necessary in order to secure the forage while in good condition and to prevent the development of seed; at the same time such treatment will starve the rootstocks.