Annual or winter annual grass.
Cheatgrass has a fine, feathery appearance overall, with slender
light-green stems drooping at the tips where the seeds form. Seed spikelets
and their bristles can be 5 centimetres long. Mature grass grows to 75
centimetres and turns first purple, and then brown, as it dries.
Cheatgrass can be troublesome in winter wheat and other crops.
Seed bristles may injure livestock and animals' eyes and mouths, but provides
good spring forage before seed-set.
In British Columbia, cheatgrass is common in southern parts, but
rare elsewhere. It grows at low- to mid-elevations at the coast, and in
the grasslands and dry forests of the Interior. It is common in recently
burned rangeland, winter crops, disturbed areas, abandoned fields, eroded
areas, and overgrazed grasslands.
Seeds are dispersed short distances by wind, but the awns
(seed bristles) can attach to fur or clothing.