Plants perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 20-100 cm. Leaves basally concentrated; sheaths striate when dry, smooth, usually glabrous, rarely pilose; auricles present; ligules membranous. Inflorescences terminal, distichous spikes, spikelets usually 1 per node, occasionally in pairs at the lower nodes, spikelets at the lower 4-6 nodes often sterile; lowest internodes to 26 mm, 2 times as long as the middle internodes. Spikelets 12-26(30) mm, 1-3 times the length of the internodes, straight, usually ascending, not appressed, with 2-12 florets; disarticulation above the glumes, beneath the florets. Glumes 5-15 mm, 1/2-2/3 the length of the spikelets, usually narrowly lanceolate, stiff, tapering from midlength or below, slightly curving to the side distally, not keeled, 3-5-veined basally, 1-veined distally, apices acuminate; lemmas lanceolate, rounded on the back, acute, mucronate to awned, awns to 5 mm, straight; paleas slightly shorter than the lemmas; anthers 3, 2.5-6 mm. Caryopses 4-5 mm, falling with the lemmas and paleas. 2n = 56. Haplomes St, H, Ns, and Xm. Name from the Latin pascuum, 'pasture', and the Greek pyros, 'wheat'.