Culms 34-102 cm long, 0.7-1.4 mm thick, erect; nodes densely pilose; lowest internodes mostly glabrous, usually retrorsely pub-escent near the nodes. Sheaths hispid; ligules of middle and upper cauline blades 2-3.5 mm, truncate to acute, lacerate or erose; blades 8.8-17.5 cm long, (9)11-17(20) mm wide, abaxial surfaces pilose on the veins and often between the veins, adaxial surfaces glabrous or slightly hispid, margins scabrous, with (2)5-11(14) prickles and 0-2(14) macrohairs per mm. Panicles (5.5)9.1-14.3(18.5) cm. Spikelets, including the awns, (25)29-36(42) mm. Lower glumes (0.1)0.3-0.7(1.1) mm, sometimes absent; upper glumes (0.2)0.9-3.5(7) mm, sometimes aristate; calluses hairy, hairs 0.2-0.5 mm; lemmas 9-13 mm long, 0.8-1.7 mm wide, veins hispid, hairs 0.2-0.9 mm, midveins more prominent than the lateral veins; awns 13-17(20) mm; paleas 7-12 mm; anthers 3.5-6 mm. Caryopses 5.5-7.5 mm. 2n = 22.
Brachyelytrum erectum grows in woodlands, occasionally over limestone bedrock, and in moist woods and forests. It extends from Lake of the Woods, Ontario, east to Newfoundland, and in the United States from Minnesota to New England and south to the Gulf Coast and Florida.
Koyama and Kawano (1964), among others, treated Brachyelytrum erectum var. glabratum (Vasey) T. Koyama & Kawano as the northern taxon B. aristosum, but the holotype of B. erectum var. glabratum belongs to B. erectum sensu stricto. This means that, nomenclaturally, B. erectum var. glabratum is a synonym of B. erectum, although most of the specimens identified as var. glabratum belong to B. aristosum.
Culms 5-10 dm, glabrous or hairy; sheaths retrorse- hairy; blades scabrous to hairy, ciliate-margined, 8-18 cm נ8-16 mm, panicle erect or declined, 5-15 cm, the few spikelets appressed; first glume none or to 0.8 mm; second glume subulate, 1-4 mm; lemma 6-10 mm, scabrous to hispidulous on the nerves, its awn 12-25 mm; prolongation of the rachilla two-thirds as long as the lemma; 2n=22. Moist woods; Que. and Nf. to Ont., Minn., and Kans., s. to Ga., La., and Okla.; e. Asia. Two well marked vars. in N. Amer.:
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Infrequent to frequent in all parts of the state where beech and sugar maple woods or black and white oak woods are found. It prefers dry slopes and, for this reason, it is often very local in some counties. I have botanized Wells County for 40 years and I have not found it, possibly because woods in which it grew are now cultivated fields.