Annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades usually flat. Inflorescence a linear to oblong spike. Spikelets 3 at each node, falling together at maturity, the triads arranged in 2 longitudinal rows with the fertile florets in 2, 4 or 6 longitudinal rows, each triad with a central bisexual spikelet and 2 lateral bisexual, male or sterile spikelets. Florets 1, rarely 2, the rhachilla usually prolonged; glumes linear-subulate to lanceolate and awned, free to the base; lemma lanceolate or ovate, 5-nerved; palea 2-keeled.