Rhizomatous perennials. Leaf-blades flat or folded; ligules short, membranous, ciliate. Inflorescence of 1–several spikes or racemes, each subtended by a reduced leaf. Spikelets in 2–4 ranks along rachis, paired, the lower sessile and recessed within the rachis, the upper pedicellate with the pedicel partly or completely fused along rachis, partly recessed, bisexual; glumes 2, those of the sessile spikelet dissimilar (1 thick, 1 membranous), and of the pedicellate spikelet similar (both thickened); outer lemma sterile, membranous; inner lemma and palea fertile, membranous.
About 10 species, from tropical Africa, Madagascar, eastern Asia; 1 extending to Australia.