Plants forming dense to open clumps. Rhizomes pachymorph, neck 5–10 cm long, 1.8–2.5 cm in diam. Culms to 4 m, 1.5–2.5 cm in diam., basally curving out and upwards, apically very pendulous; internodes 15–17(–20) cm, cylindrical, initially slightly white-powdery, longitudinal ribs absent, wall 2.5–5 mm thick; nodes with prominent supra-nodal ridge, with prominent, glabrous or initially slightly setose sheath scar; branches 7–18, deflexed, short, branchlets very dense. Culm sheaths persistent, narrowly triangular to rounded, longer than internodes, leathery, sometimes lightly white-powdery and sparsely yellow-brown setose, shoulders with steep triangular projections, longitudinal ribs conspicuous; auricles and oral setae absent; ligule irregular, steeply arcuate, glabrous; blade narrowly triangular to linear-lanceolate, erect or revolute, level, glabrous. Leaves 1–2 per ultimate branch; sheath glabrous; auricles and oral setae absent; ligule truncate, glabrous; blade narrowly lanceolate, 4–10 × 0.5–1 cm, basally broadly cuneate, secondary veins 2–3-paired, margins serrulate, transverse veins indistinct. Synflorescence unknown, shooting Aug. Name derived from the Latin utilis, for the high utility of the species.
Dense cascading foliage from thick-walled curving culms. Shoots are edible and highly favoured by humans and squirrels alike, while the thick-walled culms are used for making furniture in China.
Borinda utilis was sent as Tung Chuan #3 from Dongchuan in Yunnan Province of China in 1979 by Prof Xue Ji-Ru of Southwest Forestry University, to Max Riedelsheimer in Germany, who later identified it as Fargesia utilis.