The Common Barbgrass is an annual grass up to 40 cm high. Leaves smooth and hairless to 10 cm long and flat or channeled when young. Flower-heads are cylindrical spikes to 20 cm long and rigidly erect. Florets are embedded (sunk into recesses) in the stem (rachis) of the spike and have one glume or husk only. Flowers in the spring.

Grows on sandy and clay flats of salt-marsh near the coast around Port Phillip Bay but also scattered in inland western Victoria and occasionally in non-saline environments’.