Perennials, often tall; culms solid. Leaf-blades linear; ligule scarious or a line of hairs. Inflorescence large, plumose, often silvery, with many racemes crowded upon the primary panicle braches or borne directly on the main axis; racemes usually flexuous, the rhachis fragile and bearing paired similar spikelets, one sessile, the other pedicelled; internodes linear, slender, usually more than half the length of the sessile spikelet. Spikelets lanceolate, enveloped in long silky hairs from the callus; callus very short, truncate; glumes equal, membranous or coriaceous, the lower flat or rounded on the back; lower floret reduced to a lemma, this often lanceolate, shorter than the spikelet, hyaline; upper floret bisexual; lemma lanceolate, hyaline, awnless or with a straight awn, entire or rarely bilobed, sometimes reduced to a subulate vestige; palea small or suppressed; stamens 2-3. Caryopsis subglobose to narrowly oblong.