Tufted annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades flat or inrolled; ligules glabrous, papery. Inflorescence many branched, each branch subtended by a spathe-like bract and terminated by a pair of racemes. Spikelets in pairs, the lower sessile and bisexual, the upper pedicellate and male or barren; sessile spikelet dorsally compressed, 2-flowered, the lower floret reduced to a membranous lemma, fertile upper lemma awned from the apical notch; awn hairy at least near base; palea absent.
55 species, mostly tropical African, 1 Mediterranean; 4 occurring in Australia (3 naturalized), 1 naturalised in Victoria.