This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The habitat of this plant is meadows, river-banks, and wet places. The root-stock is creeping, stoloniferous. The stems are nodding, smooth. The leaves are broad, smooth, finely-furrowed, limp. The ligule is smooth. The panicle is more or less secund, branched, nodding, with 2 branches at each node, unequal, contracted after flowering, the flowers ascending at length, with a 3-sided rachis, smooth. The branches are rough, 2-nate. The spikelets are numerous, linear to oblong, green and dull purple. The empty glumes have a broad membranous border. The flowering glumes are rough above, seldom awned, 3-7, smooth, acute. The ovary is smooth. The plant is 2-6 ft. high, flowering in June and July, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this species is river-banks, wet places, wet meadows. The plant is smaller than the last, and not so stoloniferous. The panicle is close, not spreading, more or less secund, nodding, with linear-oblong spikelets of 5-10 flowers, in 2 rows, simple, with short branches in pairs, one with 1 spikelet, the other with 2 or more. The flowering glumes are more numerous, shortly awned, 4-10, smooth, blunt, or with a short point. The ovary is smooth. The plant is 1-2 ft. in height, flowering in June and July, and is a herbaceous perennial.