Annuals or perennials, mostly with tough erect culms. Leaf-blades linear, rigid, flat or rolled, rarely flaccid and lanceolate; ligule a short scarious rim, usually ciliate along the edge. Inflorescence on oblong panicle, open or contracted, the spikelets shortly pedicelled in pairs and ± appressed to the primary branches. Spikelets 2-flowered, disarticulating between the florets, the lower floret male or barren; glumes membranous to chartaceous, 3-5-nerved, the lower acute to mucronate, the upper as long as the spikelet and often ± caudate; lower lemma ovate-elliptic, elliptic, 3-7-nerved, with a hyaline palea; upper lemma thinly coriaceous, 1-7-nerved, scaberulous all over, entire, emarginate or shortly bibbed, with (rarely at) a straight or geniculate persistent awn, sometimes the lateral lobes also slenderly. awned; callus short, rounded; palea wingless, with or without door-like flaps in front; anthers 3. Caryopsis oblong, glabrous.