Tufted or rhizomatous perennials (rarely annuals). Leaf-blades flat or inrolled; ligule a row of short hairs. Inflorescence a panicle, or of 1–several erect spikes or spike-like racemes. Spikelets 1(–2)-flowered, subsessile, sometimes in rows and then appressed to 2 faces of a triangular (in section) inflorescence axis; glumes usually unequal, the lower 1-nerved, the upper 1–5(–9)-nerved, persistent; lemma 1(–5)-nerved, unawned; grain free from pericarp when dry; palea shorter than lemma.
About 220 species, from tropical and temperate regions; c. 25 species (c. 6 naturalised) in Australia.
Spartina Schreb., a morphologically distinctive group of 6 species of tidal mudflats, has been merged into Sporobolus following an extensive DNA-based revision of the subtribe Sporobolinae (Peterson et al. 2014). Other genera, not represented in Victoria, have also been merged into Sporobolus following that study.
Peterson, P.M.; Romaschenko, K.; Arrieta, Y.H. & Saarela, J.M. (2014). A molecular phylogeny and new subgeneric classification of Sporobolus (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Sporobolinae)., Taxon 63(6): 1212-1234.