Plants rhizomatous. Culms 0.8-2.5 m; nodes glabrous or pubescent.
Sheaths not ciliate; auricles absent; ligules 1-2 mm; blades
usually 40-60 cm long, 7-25 mm wide, glabrous. Peduncles 45-75 cm, usually
glabrous, occasionally pubescent or minutely pilose; panicles 3-10 cm wide,
linear or oblong; rachises (10)30-50 cm, glabrous or sparsely pilose; lowest
nodes glabrous or sparsely pilose; primary branches 7-14 cm, appressed;
rame internodes 4-6 mm, with hairs. Sessile spikelets 6.5-10.5 mm
long, 1.2-1.5 mm wide, purple or straw-colored. Callus hairs 3-7 mm, from
shorter than to equaling the spikelets, white to straw-colored or brown; lower
glumes 5-veined, smooth basally, scabrous distally; lower lemmas 5.5-8
mm, not or indistinctly veined, initially entire, sometimes becoming bifid, teeth
2-2.5 mm; upper lemmas 5.5-8 mm, 0.9-1 times as long as the lower lemmas,
3-veined, entire or bifid; awns 10-22 mm, always flattened below, sometimes
spirally coiled; lodicule veins sometimes extending as hairlike projections;
anthers 2. Pedicels 3-4 mm, with hairs. Pedicellate spikelets
similar to the sessile spikelets. 2n = 60.
Saccharum brevibarbe grows only in the southeastern United States.