Tufted, rhizomatous or stoloniferous annuals (most) or perennials. Ligule lacking (in Victorian species) or a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a panicle, often 1-sided or the primary branches dichotomous. Spikelets subsessile, crowded, in pairs or in small clusters, 2-flowered, the lower floret neuter; glumes 2, falling with the lemma, the lower shorter than, the upper equal to spikelet; florets subequal or the upper slightly shorter; upper lemma and palea firmer than other segments, lemma abruptly tapered to a short green apical point, palea with a short recurved apex.
About 30 species, from tropical and temperate regions; 18 species in Australia (9 naturalized), 6 in Victoria (all naturalized).
Echinochloa lacunaria (F. Muell.) Michael & Vickery is known from a few collections along the Murray River in SA (type area near Tailem Bend) and Menindee on the Darling River in NSW, but apparently not collected since 1949. If still extant, the species could be expected to occur along the Murray River in Victoria. It is distinguished from the other Victorian species in having smooth and glabrous panicle branches and floral segments. Its distinctness from other northern species (e.g. E. turneriana), however, is not clearly established and it may represent an ecotypic variant.