Hairy finger is an annual grass that grows up to 30 centimetres high, although the bases of the stems often sprawl on the ground. The leaves are relatively broad, quite hairy and tinged purple at the base. The tiny flowers are enclosed in green packets called spikelets, which are carried in slender spines. There are usually four to 10 spines that shoot from the top of the stem, at first closed together but gradually separating as the flowers open. The seeds are edible and the plant is sometimes cultivated for grain.
This plant is regarded as a weed since it can grow in waste ground in soil with low fertility and is resistant to drought. It is common in Southern Europe.