Tufted annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades flat; ligules membranous. Inflorescence a contracted, more or less one-sided panicle. Spikelets of two kinds, the fertile ones 1–5-flowered, each subtended by a persistent sterile spikelet consisting of several stiff, subulate, distichously arranged bracts or sterile lemmas; fertile spikelet with membranous glumes, lemmas firm, apically awned.
4 species, from Europe, northern Africa and south-western Asia; 2 species naturalised in Australia, both in Victoria.