Tufted annuals or tussocky perennials from a short ascending rhizome; culms slender to robust, flattened. Leaf-blades linear, usually folded; ligule membranous, truncate, often ciliate; leaf-sheaths keeled. Inflorescence digitate or shortly racemose, composed of a number of secund spikes clustered at the top of the culm. Spikelets several-flowered, ovate to narrowly oblong, laterally compressed, biseriate, usually closely overlapping, disarticulating between the florets; glumes 1-several-nerved, keeled, shorter than the lemmas, persistent; lemmas 3-nerved, keeled, sometimes with additional nerves on either side of the keel, elliptic to oblong, membranous, glabrous, the lateral nerves shorter than the lemma, the tip entire, obtuse to acute. Grain enclosed within a free hyaline pericarp, blackish (except in E. coracana), the surface ornamented, usually obtusely trigonous in cross-section.