Herbaceous annuals or perennials. Spikelets borne in panicles, racemes or spikes, 1-many-flowered, all the florets bisexual and disarticulating above the persistent glumes, rarely sterile and fertile spikelets mixed (Cynosurus, Lamarckia
); lemmas 5-many-nerved, entire, awnless or awned from the tip or from the back; lodicules cuneate, often lobed; stamens usually 3, rarely fewer.
Leaf anatomy: vascular bundles circular in section; bundle-sheath double; chlorenchyma cells diffusely arranged and extensive; 2-celled micro-hairs absent.
Embryo: epiblast present but scutellum cleft and internode in the vascular trace absent; first leaf folded.