Tufted or rhizomatous perennials or annuals. Culm internodes solid; nodes generally glabrous. Leaf-blades flat; ligules membranous, sometimes fringed. Inflorescence of spikelike racemes, digitately or subdigitately arranged, or a typical panicle; rachis segments and pedicels furrowed; terminal spikelets in 3s, others in pairs, the lower of each pair or triplet sessile and bisexual, the upper 1 or 2 pedicellate and male or sterile; glumes 2, subequal, the lower often with a conspicuous pit on the upper surface; lower lemma sterile, hyaline, shorter than glumes; upper lemma fertile, awned, the body of the lemma continuous with the awn; palea reduced or absent.
About 35 species, from warm-temperate and tropical countries; 9 in Australia (2 naturalised), 1 in Victoria.