Description from Flora of China
Culms erect, 60–180 cm tall, 4- or 5-noded, smooth, glabrous. Leaf blade erect or nodding, green or greenish, broadly linear, pubescent or glabrous. Spike simple or branched at base, dense or relatively lax, pubescent or glabrous; rachis tough, margin very slightly ciliolate. Spikelets with 2–7 florets (perfect florets 3–5), sometimes densely pubescent at base. Glumes broadly lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 10–30 mm, shorter to longer than lemma, herbaceous, submembranous, leathery, or papery, very prominently keeled, rough or prickly along keel, apex usually long awned, rarely awnless; keel crested, prolonged at apex into triangular, acute tooth. First lemma awn 12–19 cm or longer, stiff to relatively slender; more distal lemmas sometimes with apical point or awnless. Palea shorter than or equaling lemma. Caryopsis usually free from lemma and palea, plump or hard and vitreous. Fl. and fr. Jun–Aug.
Frequently cultivated for food. Beijing, Gansu, Henan, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan [cultivated in E and N Africa, C and SW Asia, S Europe, the Mediterranean region, and South America (Argentina)].