Description from Flora of China
Culms erect or geniculate at base, 40–140 cm tall, 2–4-noded. Leaf sheath glabrous, or densely pilose at base; leaf blade ± glaucous, flat, rarely rolled, 5–25 × 0.5–1(–1.2) cm, abaxial surface smooth, adaxial surface smooth or scabrous. Spike erect, somewhat dense, 14–18 × 0.5–1 cm; rachis margin ciliolate. Spikelets green or purplish green, usually stramineous at maturity, (1 or)2 per node, 9–15 mm, with 2–5 florets. Glumes lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 7–10 mm, 3–5-veined, scabrous or scabrous-hirsutulous along veins, apex acuminate or with awn to 5 mm. Lemma lanceolate, puberulent, pubescent, or densely hirsutulous throughout; first lemma 7–9 mm; awn straight or recurved, 2–20 mm. Palea equaling lemma, ciliate along keels, ± pubescent between keels, apex narrowly truncate. Fl. and fr. Jun–Aug.
Four varieties occur in China. In addition, Elymus dahuricus var. brevisetus Ohwi (J. Jap. Bot. 19: 168. 1943) was described from N Shanxi (Ningwu), but no specimens have been seen by the authors.
Forest glades, scrub, mountain slopes, valleys, meadows, pebbles, sometimes roadsides and field margins; ca. 2600 m. Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; SW Asia].