Plants cespitose, shortly rhizomatous. Culms 5-35 cm, densely and finely pubescent throughout. Basal sheaths remaining intact; ligules 0.5-2.5 mm; basal blades 2-20 cm long, 1-3 mm wide, involute, stiff, margins not ciliate, adaxial sur¬faces pubescent. Panicles 1-4(5) cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm wide, somewhat interrupted at the base; branches villous. Spikelets 4-6.5 mm, with 2-3 florets; rachillas pubescent. Glumes membranous, purple, scabrous, ciliate on the keels and upper margins; lower glumes 2.5-3.5 mm long, about 0.5 mm wide, lanceolate, narrow, apices acute or awn-tipped to about 0.6 mm; upper glumes 3-4.8 mm long, 0.8-0.9 mm wide, ovate; calluses pubescent; lemmas 4-5 mm, slightly longer than the glumes, pubescent to densely tomentose, purple to almost black, apices acute or awn-tipped to about 1.4 mm; paleas equaling or slightly shorter than the lemmas; anthers 1.2-2.5 mm. 2n = 28.
Alaska, N.W.T., Yukon
Koeleria asiatica grows on the gravel bars of creeks, dry tundra, and scree slopes. Its range extends from the Ural Mountains through the Kamchatka Peninsula to northern Alaska and northwestern Canada.