Perennial grass to 1.5m tall. Female flower heads prickly from the rigid points of the bracts of the thin papery surrounding bracts. Leaves with a sheath at the base. Ligule a fringe of hairs. Leaf blades 1-30cm long, 1-10mm wide, flat or loosely folded lengthwise, almost hairless, with minute bristles on the upper surface, with slightly rough edges and blunt points. Male and female flowers on different plants. Flowers green to straw-coloured, in globular heads at the tops of the stems. Spikelets 5-10mm long. Seeds with 0 bristles.
Description and photo in GM Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and JH Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales page 154
PlantNET description with photos and line drawings: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Zygochloa~paradoxa
ausgrass2 description with line drawings and photos: http://ausgrass2.myspecies.info/content/zygochloa-paradoxa