Annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades rolled or flat, linear to ovate; ligule a ciliate rim or a line of hairs, rarely a distinct membrane or absent. Inflorescence a panicle, usually much branched but occasionally contracted about the primary branches. Spikelets usually ovate to elliptic; glumes hyaline to membranous, usually the lower shorter than, and the upper as long as the spikelet; lower floret male or sterile, its lemma usually resembling the upper glume, with or without a palea; upper lemma ± as long as the spikelet, crustaceous, clasping only the margins of the palea. Caryopsis ± ellipsoid, dorsally compressed.