Cool-season, short-lived native perennial bunchgrass found from lower plains and foothills to sub alpine elevations. Prolific seeder, adapted to disturbed riparian areas with saline to alkaline soils, with sandy loam to clay soil textures. Seeds consumed by waterfowl. Prior to seedhead development, the plant is highly palatable to livestock and wildlife. Low palatability after seedhead development due to sharp awns, which have the potential to penetrate flesh of grazing animals. Competitive and aggressive on disturbed and reclaimed sites.