Tufted perennial, 15-40cm tall, the bases of all the shoots thickened like miniature spring onions. Leaves to 10cm long, often folded, green or more commonly grey-green. Panicles fairly dense, 2-6cm long. Spikelets 3-5mm long, patterned with green, purple, white and yellow, late spring-early summer. Most of Europe (except parts of the north and most of the extreme west), in dry habitats.