Tufted annuals. Leaf-blades flat; ligules membranous. Inflorescence a panicle. Spikelets laterally compressed, with 2–6 bisexual florets which fall separately; glumes 2, keeled, equal or unequal, the lower 1–3-nerved, the upper 3-nerved, shorter than the spikelet, persistent; lemmas 3–5-nerved, bifid, keeled, with a straight to slightly curved awn near the apex; palea shorter than lemma, bifid at apex.
About 18 species, from southern Europe, possibly extending to southern Africa; 2 naturalised in Australia and Victoria.