Description from Flora of China
Culms loosely tufted, (15–)30–50(–70) cm tall, erect or obliquely ascending, firm and robust, scabrid below inflorescence, rarely smooth, nodes (2or )3 or 4, uppermost up to 1/3(–1/2) way up. Shoots extravaginal. Leaf sheaths scabrid, much shorter than internodes, usually longer or equal to blade; blade flat and usually firm, (4–)6–12 × 0.15–0.25(–0.3) cm; ligule (2–)3–5(–10) mm. Panicle narrow and dense, (4–)6–10 cm, branches erect, 2–5 per node, basal ones 1/6–1/2 as long as panicle with spikelets crowded near branch base. Spikelets lanceolate, sometimes very narrow and elongated, green or grassy yellow, 3.5–5(–10) mm, florets 2–5(–11); rachilla glabrous or warty; glumes, narrowly lanceolate, unequal, 2.5–4(–4.5) mm; lemma lanceolate, 3–4 mm; callus webbed or glabrous.
Poa sphondylodes is treated here as a polymorphic species with a broad ecological amplitude and many ecotypes. Its appearance depends on the environment, varying from quite mesomorphic to almost xeromorphic.
Tzvelev (Zlaki SSSR, 472. 1976) and Probatova (in Tzvelev, Sosud. Rast. Sovetsk. Dal'nego Vostoka 1: 283. 1985) considered this species to be synonymous with Poa versicolor subsp. ochotensis, but the type of P. sphondylodes and other gatherings so named differ from that subspecies in their broader leaf blades and quite soft habit. The most mesomorphic populations of P. sphondylodes seem to be confused with P. palustris, but the typical forms differ from the latter species as follows: uppermost node in lower part of culm; ligule of uppermost leaf much longer, 3–5(–8) mm; panicle usually with very short branches, longest branches at 2nd node of panicle; spikelets proximally crowded on branches. Specimens with rather more lax panicles and longer branches are common in C China.
Open sandy ground, frequently on river banks, meadows among scattered thickets on slopes, grassy places on sunny slopes; 100–3200 m. Anhui, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Zhejiang [Russia (Far East), Japan, Korea].