Very robust, tussock forming perennials. Leaves basal. Inflorescence a large, dense panicle on a tall, cane-like culm. Spikelets 2–5-flowered, unisexual, on separate male and female plants, or bisexual; glumes paired, persistent; florets articulate above glumes; lemma membranous, 1–3-nerved, tapered to narrow, awn-like points, plumose-hairy in female florets, glabrous or nearly so in males; palea about equal to body of lemma, 2-nerved; stamens 3.
About 24 species, mostly native to South America; 3 naturalised in Australia, 2 in Victoria.