Annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades linear to lanceolate; ligule represented by a line of hairs. Inflorescence composed of racemes borne upon a common axis: rhachis triquetrous to ribbon-like, bearing single or sometimes paired spikelets, their lower glume adaxial. Spikelets ovate to oblong, plump, obtuse to acute, sometimes the lowest internode elongated, then often accrescent to the sheathing base of the lower glume and forming a short stipe; lower glume mostly shorter than the spikelet; upper glume as long as the spikelet, membranous or herbaceous; lower floret male or sterile, its lemma resembling the upper glume; upper lemma coriaceous to crustaceous, obtuse to acute, usually muticous, its margins covering only the edges of the palea; upper palea obtuse to subacute, its tip tucked within the lemma. Caryopsis elliptic, dorsally compressed.