Tall robust perennials. Leaf-blades linear, aromatic; ligule membranous or scarious. Inflorescence composed of paired racemes borne on a short common peduncle and ± enclosed by a boat-shaped spatheole, these densely crowded into a leafy false panicle which is often very large and complex; racemes short, each borne upon a very short flattened raceme-base which is deflexed at maturity, the lowermost pair of spikelets in each raceme homogamous and resembling the pedicelled; internodes and pedicels linear. Sessile spikelet ± dorsally compressed; callus obtuse, inserted in the concave or cupular tip of the internode; lower glume ± chartaceous, often streaked with oil glands, shallowly concave or with a V-shaped median groove (occasionally deeply concave or slightly convex), 2-keeled, the keels usually lateral and often winged near the apex, with or without inter-carinal nerves; lower floret reduced to a hyaline lemma; upper lemma hyaline or stipitiform, bilobed (very rarely entire), with or without a glabrous awn from the sinus; palea absent; caryopsis oblong, subterete to planoconvex. Pedicelled spikelet male or barren, ± as long as the sessile but never depressed on the back, awnless.