Plants perennial; appearing loosely cespitose and forming a rather closed turf, stoloniferous, stolons to 25 cm, slender, leafy, weakly rooting and eventually producing tufts of shoots at the nodes, without rhizomes. Culms 15-75 cm, erect, frequently geniculate at the base, sometimes weakly rooting at the lower nodes, with 2-4(6) nodes. Leaves basal and cauline; sheaths usually smooth, sometimes scabrous distally; ligules 1-4 mm, dorsal surfaces scabridulous, apices truncate to obtuse or acute, erose-lacerate; blades 1-10 cm long, 1-3 mm wide, usually flat, sometimes involute, usually scabrous, apices acute. Panicles 3-10 cm long, 1-7 cm wide, open, often lax, lanceolate to broadly ovate, lowest node with 3-7 branches; branches more or less scabrous, erect to spreading, usually branched above midlength, spikelet-bearing in the distal 1/3, patent at anthesis, lower branches 3-5 cm; pedicels (0.4)1-3 mm. Spikelets lanceolate or narrowly oblong, brownish yellow to purplish or rarely greenish. Glumes subequal, 1.7-3 mm, 1-veined, scabrous only on the distal part of the midveins, acute; callus hairs to 0.1 mm; lemmas 1-2 mm, about 2/3 the length of the glumes, bases minutely pubescent, otherwise glabrous, translucent to opaque, 5-veined, veins prominent or obscure, apices acute to obtuse, entire, usually awned from near the base, awns to 5 mm, geniculate, rarely unawned, awned and unawned lemmas sometimes mixed within the panicle; paleas absent, or to about 0.2 mm and thin; anthers 3, 1-1.5 mm, at least 1/2 as long as the lemmas. Caryopses 0.8-1.2 mm; endosperm solid. 2n = 14.
Maine, Conn., Mass., N.H., N.Y., R.I., N.J., Del., Md., W.Va., Pa., Minn., Mich., Tenn., Pacific Islands (Hawaii), Vt., Oreg., Greenland, N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.S., P.E.I., Que.
Agrostis canina is a Eurasian species that is now established in both western and eastern North America, where it grows on roadsides and open ground in summer-cool climates. It is used for fine-textured lawns and golf greens. Similar to A. vinealis (see next), it may be differentiated from that species by its creeping, leafy stolons that form a dense carpet, and the finer, softer texture of its leaves. Unawned plants have been called A. canina var. mutica G. Sinclair.