Cymbopogon plurinodis is a tufted perennial with 2 – 5 mm leaf blades. The inflorescence is a false panicle of up to eight paired spikes. The Narrow Turpentine Grass is unpalatable except when young.
It is a poor grazing grass due to the essential oils which give the grass a bitter taste. It contains an essential oil with about 17 ingredients, with piperitol and delta-nerolidol been the three of the most important.
It grows in open grassland or open patches in bushveld regions. It grows in all soil types, but prefers heavier soils where it can form dominant stands. Widespread across Africa.