Virginia Wild Rye is a perennial grass that produces both infertile and fertile shoots. Infertile shoots are up to 1′ tall and semi-evergreen; they occur throughout the year, consisting of tufts of low leaves. During the spring and summer, fertile shoots develop, consisting of tufts of tall leafy culms about 2½–4′ tall that are deciduous. These culms are terete, light green to reddish brown, glabrous, and erect. Several alternate leaves occur along the entire length of each culm. The blades of these leaves are up to 15 mm. across and 12″ long; they are medium green, dark green, or bluish green, hairless on both their upper and lower sides, and rather floppy. The bases of these blades are narrowly auricled (with narrow ear-like lobes); these auricles clasp the culms. The leaf sheaths are light green, medium green, yellowish green, or reddish green; they are open toward their apices, hairless to sparsely short-pubescent, longitudinally veined, and often membranous along their margins. The ligules are white-membranous. Each fertile culm terminates in an erect floral spike (or spike-like raceme) about 2½–6″ long; this inflorescence is densely covered on all sides with ascending spikelets that are sessile, or nearly so.