The stems vary in height from 2 to 4 feet. The plant produces numerous basal and stem leaves that vary in length from 4 to 10 inches. Frequently the leaves are marked by a transverse wrinkle resembling a “W” a short distance below the tip. The flower head develops a characteristic rich purplish-brown color when mature. The seed is produced in semi-compact 5 inch long panicles with ascending branches. The flat compressed seed is usually awnless, about 1/3 inch long, and smooth.
Smooth brome is best adapted to cooler climates and is generally hardier than tall fescue or orchardgrass. It is resistant to drought and extremes in temperature. This plant is very susceptible to disease in areas of high humidity.