This was the chief grass of the tallgrass prairie and once covered solid acres. The leaves are very nutritious for cattle, and it is now being rediscovered as commerical hay and a forage plant. It begins growth in April, flowers in late summer, and attains heights up to 8 feet.
Its flowers are spikelets borne in pairs, one sessile, one pedicelled. The inflorescence is three-branched, each of which is a raceme. Because of this, it has been called "Turkey Foot" or "Turkey Claw."