Plants perennial. Culms 50-100 cm tall, 3-5 mm thick, erect. Sheaths smooth, not or only weakly keeled; ligules 0.2-0.9 mm, translucent, rounded to truncate; blades 25-40 cm long, 2-7 mm wide, abaxial surfaces smooth, adaxial surfaces scab-ridulous. Panicles 15-25 cm long, 0.8-1.5 cm wide, linear, nodding; branches 5-9 cm, appressed, scarcely surpassing the node above, with 30-60+ spikelets; pedicels 0.5-2 mm. Spikelets 3.5-5 mm long, 1-2.5 mm wide, laterally compressed, oval in side view, with 3-4 florets. Glumes lanceolate, veins terminating below the apices, apices acute; lower glumes 1.3-2.4 mm; upper glumes 1.7-3 mm; rachilla internodes 0.4-0.6 mm; lemmas 1.9-2.8 mm, smooth or scabridulous, 5-7-veined, veins raised, apices acute, prow-shaped; paleas slightly shorter to slightly longer than the lemmas, lengths 2.5-4 times widths, keels well developed, not winged, tips incurved, narrowly notched between the keels; anthers 2, 0.3-0.5 mm. Caryopses 1-1.5 mm; hila subequal to the caryopses. 2n = 40.
Glyceria melicaria grows in swamps and wet soils. Its range extends from southeastern Ontario east to Nova Scotia, south to Illinois and the northeastern United States and, in the Appalachian Mountains, to northern Georgia. Glyceria ×gatineauensis Bowden is a sterile hybrid between G. melicaria and G. striata. For further comments, see description of Glyceria striata.
Culms slender, erect, 5-10 dm; lvs 2-5 mm wide; ligule under 1 mm; panicle very narrow, its 2 lowest internodes each 2-7 cm; branches 1-3 from each node of the infl, strictly erect, the lower not much surpassing the next node; spikelets 4 mm, 3-4-fld; first glume narrowly lanceolate, 1.3-2.4 mm; second glume broader, 1.7-3 mm; lemmas broadly elliptic, abruptly acute, 1.9-2.8 mm, smooth, somewhat surpassing the indurate palea, the veins visible but not raised; stamens 2; 2n=40. Swamps and wet ground; Que., N.S., and N.B. to Ky. and N.C. (G. torreyana)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.