Plants perennial, cespitose. Culms 27-70(95) cm tall, wth 1-2 nodes, erect, glabrous except hary below the inflorescence; lowest internode 0.6-2.3 mm thick.
Leaves mostly basal; sheaths usually shortly hairy, sometimes glabrous; auricles 0.4-1(2) mm long; ligules 0.2-1 mm long, truncate; blades 5-18 cm long, 1.2-5 mm wide, flat or loosely inrolled, with 10-14 veins, both surfaces sparsely to densely scabrous or hairy over the veins.
Inflorescence spikelike, 1.5-10 cm long, with 5-12(19) spikelets; rachis edges and surfaces hairy, the hairs retrorse, prolonged 0.4-3 mm beyond the base of the distal spikelet; middle internodes 3-5 mm long.
Spikelets 8-15 mm long, solitary, strongly divergent to reflexed, shortly pedicellate, with 5-8 florets; disarticulation below the florets.
Glumes about equal, 4-8.5 mm long, 0.5-1 mm wide, 3-5-veined, strongly diverging from the florets at maturity or reflexed, narrowly lanceolate, glabrous, tip narrowly acute, unawned. Lemmas 7-10 mm long, scabridulous to scabrous over the veins or glabrous, sometimes scabrdulous throughout, tip straight, narrowly acute to awned, the awn to 3.5 mm long. Palea 5.5- 7 mm long, keels coarsely scabrous, tips separated by 0.3-0.5 mm. Anthers 3-6 mm long.
In Australia: At high elevations in alpine meadows and sod tussock grasslands
Australia: New South Wales (ST), Victoria., Tasmania.
New Zealand: Introduced. North Island - Hawkes Bay; South Island - inland Marlborough, inland Waitaki and Central Otago basins. Possibly no longer present in the South Island.
2n = 14
Henwood, M.J. and C.M. Weiller. 2009. Australopyrum, Flora of Australia 44A: 107-110. ABRS/CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia.
Jacobs, S.W.L., R.D.B. Whalley, and D.J.B. Wheeler. 2009. Grasses of New South Wales, ed. 4. University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.