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The bract enclosing the flower (the lemma) does not have a bristle (awn), per Invasive Plants, Guide to Identification, Impacts and Control.
Common Bottlebrush Grass,
Elymus hystrix var. hystrix
Awned spikelets spread at right angles to rachis; glumes absent or reduced, per How to Know the Grasses by R.W. Pohl.
Spikelets have 2 fertile flowers, each with a lemma with a striking bent awn, per Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont.
Southeastern Slim-spike Three-awn,
Central awn sharply curved at base, spreading; lateral awns erect, shorter, per Manual of the Grasses of the United States.
Spikelets with 3 straight to spreading awns, 12-25mm long, per Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses.
Echinochloa muricata var. muricata
Spikelets > 3.5mm long. Sterile lemma usually awned, the awn 6-25mm long, per Weakley's Flora.
Inflorescence of many racemes in a dense, silvery to tawny, plume, per Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians.
Awn twisted, bristle hairs from spikelet base longer than spikelet, per Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses.
Corylus cornuta var. cornuta
Fruit husk drawn out into an elongate beak and covered by short stiff hairs, per Woody Plants of the Southeastern US: A Winter Guide.
Leaf blades leathery, upper surfaces shiny, lower w tawny hairs along veins, per Native Trees of the Southeast, An Identification Guide.
Leaves usually unlobed, awned at tip, grayish and pubescent on undersurface, per Woody Plants of the Southeastern US: A Winter Guide.
Leaves resemble those of Castanea, with awn-terminated marginal teeth, per Woody Plants of the Southeastern US: A Winter Guide.
Achenes with a pappus of two barbed awns, per Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians.
Fruits: Achenes; pappus of usually 2 barbed awns, per Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians.