Tufted, rhizomatous or stoloniferous perennials or annuals. Leaf-blades linear, flat or folded, acute to acuminate or obtuse; ligule membranous, short, ciliolate; sheaths rounded or keeled and flabellate. Inflorescence of few to many slender, typically digitate spikes. Spikelets 24(-6)-flowered, shortly pedicelled or subsessile, alternate in 2 rows on a tough rhachis; glumes unequal, membranous, usually lanceolate in side-view, 1-nerved, acute, acuminate or with an awn-point, usually persistent; lowest floret bisexual; lemma cartilaginous or coriaceous, mostly laterally compressed and keeled, usually ciliate on the margins and keel, entire or 2-lobed at the apex, with a subapical awn; callus rounded or pungent, ciliate; 2nd-6th florets sterile, sometimes male, rarely bisexual, embraced by or projecting from the side of the lowest floret; lemmas more or less reduced or vestigial, awned or awnless; paleas usually absent. Caryopsis ellipsoid to linear, usually trigonous, occasionally dorsally compressed.