Tall annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades linear, never aromatic; ligule scarious. Inflorescence composed of paired racemes, each pair supported on a peduncle and subtended by a sheathing spatheole, the latter crowded into a large leafy false panicle; racemes short, slender, each borne upon a short stalk (raceme-base) which is often deflexed at maturity, and with up to 2 of the lower most spikelet pairs (homogamous pairs) male or barren, awnless and tardily deciduous; internodes and pedicels linear. Sessile spikelet narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate–oblong, dorsally compressed or terete; callus obtuse to pungent, applied obliquely to the top of the internode with its tip free; lower glume coriaceous, broadly convex across the back and sides. without keels or these developed only in the uppermost third; upper glume awnless; lower floret reduced to a hyaline lemma, upper lemma stipitiform, bidentate, passing between the teeth into a stout awn with pubescent or hirtellous column, palea minute or absent. Caryopsis oblong, subterete. Pedicelled spikelet male or barren, narrowly lanceolate, usually a little longer than the sessile, awnless or aristulate from the lower glume.