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Vulpia brevis is an annual, dwarf, caespitose herb with geniculately ascending, or decumbent culms that reaches up to 6 cm long. The leaf-blades are 3–10 cm long; 1–2 mm wide. The inflorescence is a contracted, oblong panicle that reaches to 2–6 cm long, bearing deciduous spikelet clusters. The fertile spikelets are cuneate, laterally compressed and comprise 1 fertile floret, with diminished florets at the apex. The glumes are similar, and shorter than spikelet; the lower glume is lanceolate, membranous, 1-keeled, while the upper glume is lanceolate with acuminate apex. The fruit is a Caryopsis with adherent pericarp.