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..
Annual or perennial tufted grasses, with flat leaf-blades and dense spike-like inflorescence. Spikelets of two kinds, in small clusters; lower spikelets of the clusters consisting of narrow empty scales, with a continuous rachilla, the terminal spikelets of 2-4 broader scales, with an articulated rachilla and subtending perfect flowers. Two lower scales in the fertile spikelets empty, 1-nerved, the flowering scales broader, 1-3-nerved, pointed or short-awned; upper scales narrower, usually empty. Scales of the sterile spikelets pectinate, spreading, all empty, linear-subulate, 1-nerved. Stamens 3. Styles distinct, short. Stigmas loosely plumose. Grain finally adherent to the palet. [Greek, signifying dog's tail, referring to the spike.]
About 5 species, natives of the Old World. Type species: Cynosurus cristatus L.
Cynosurus cristatus L. Sp. PI. 72. 1753.
Culms 1º -2 1/2º tall, erect, slender, simple, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths shorter than the internodes; ligule 1/2" long, truncate; blades 1 1/2'-5' long, 1/2'-2" wide, smooth, glabrous; spike-like panicle 2-4' in length, 2 1/2"-6" wide, long-exserted; spikelets arranged in clusters, the terminal fertile, the lower larger and sterile; scales of the former about 1 1/2" long, pointed or short-awned, the scales of the sterile spikelets very narrow, pointed, strongly scabrous on the keel.
In fields and waste places, Newfoundland to Ontario, southern New York and New Jersey. Adventive from Europe. Hendon Bent, or Crested Dog's-tail-grass. Leghorn-straw-grass. June-Aug.