Tufted or rhizomatous perennials or annuals. Culm internodes solid; nodes generally hairy. Leaf-blades flat; ligules membranous, sometimes fringed. Inflorescence of spike-like racemes, digitately or subdigitately arranged; terminal spikelets in threes, others in pairs, the lower of each pair or triplet sessile and bisexual (but sterile at base of most or all racemes), the upper one or two pedicellate and male or sterile; glumes 2, subequal, the lower usually distinctly ciliate near apex; lower lemma sterile, hyaline, shorter than glumes; upper lemma fertile, awned, the body of the lemma continuous with the awn; palea reduced or absent.
About 15 species, from Africa, Mediterranean countries, India and the Pacific region; 8 in Australia (2 naturalized), 1 native to Victoria.