Tufted or spreading, sometimes rhizomatous perennials (rarely annuals). Leaf-blades expanded to involute, occasionally reduced or absent; ligules membranous. Inflorescence a panicle, occasionally reduced to one or a few spikelets. Spikelets with 1 bisexual flower; glumes paired, persistent; floret articulate above glumes, cylindric, fusiform or narrowly turbinate, with a hairy callus; lemma firm, with margins overlapping or involute and nearly touching, surface often roughened and/or hairy, a coma sometimes present encircling the base of the apical awn, 3–5-nerved but the nerves obscure; awn persistent, usually several times longer than lemma, once or twice bent, or evenly curved above a thicker column section that twists spirally on drying; palea thinner than lemma and usually fully enclosed by it, 0–2-nerved, flat, or rarely, centrally grooved; stamens 3, often shortly penicillate at apex.
About 64 species, most species native to temperate Australia, 2 shared with New Zealand.