Annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades linear, flat; ligule absent or represented by a line of hairs. Inflorescence composed of racemes arranged on a central axis; rhachis triquetrous, scabrid, often setose, the spikelets paired (very rarely single) or on short side branchlets and forming (2-)4 or more rows. Spikelets narrowly elliptic to subrotund, convex on the back, flat on the front, ± hispid, cuspidate or awned, rarely obtuse and then the spikelet borne upon a short stipe; lower glume ovate, ± one-third the length of the spikelet, typically acute to acuminate; upper glume as long as the spikelet, acute to acuminate, rarely with a short awn-point or obtuse; lower floret male or barren, with or without a palea, its lemma resembling the upper glume but often awned; upper lemma crustaceous, smooth and shining, acute (very rarely obtuse), clasping only the margins of the palea; upper palea acute (rarely obtuse), with the tip briefly reflexed and ± protuberant bet¬ween the lemma margins. Caryopsis broadly elliptic, dorsally flattened.