Tufted annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades flat; ligules membranous. Inflorescence a panicle or raceme. Spikelets laterally compressed, several-flowered; glumes shorter than spikelet, persistent, the upper longer than lower, both 1–9-nerved; lemma firm or membranous, awned or mucronate, often bifid at apex; palea mostly shorter than lemma.
About 50 species, almost cosmopolitan, but with greatest development in the Mediterranean, western Europe and eastern Asia regions; 23 in Australia, all but one introduced, 13 in Victoria.