Description from Flora of China
Perennial forming loose tufts. Culms ascending, 50–130 cm tall, nodes pilose. Leaf sheaths glabrous but pilose at mouth; leaf blades linear, flat with broad white midrib, 10–40 × 0.4–1 cm, glabrous, apex acuminate; ligule 1–2 mm. Inflorescence linear, 10–17 × 1.5–2 cm; axis puberulous, ribbed, peduncle stumps ca. 1 mm; involucre enclosing 1(–3) spikelets, basal stipe ca. 0.5 mm; bristles purplish brown, soft, numerous, plumose in the lower part, mostly about as long as the spikelet, longest twice as long, up to 2 cm. Spikelets lanceolate, 5–6.5 mm; lower glume ovate, membranous, 1–1.5 mm, veinless; upper glume lanceolate, 1/2–2/3 as long as spikelet, 5-veined; lower floret staminate or neuter, lemma as long as spikelet; upper lemma herbaceous; anthers without hairs at tip. Fl. and fr. May–Sep.
Pennisetum qianningense is very similar to P. orientale Richard, but that species has a pubescent inflorescence axis and definitely plumose bristles, which often enclose more than one spikelet. Pennisetum orientale is a widespread species extending from N India, Nepal, and Pakistan to C and SW Asia and N Africa. It is to be expected in neighboring parts of China.
* Dry mountain slopes, valleys, roadsides; 1500–3200 m. Sichuan, Yunnan.