Tufted or shortly rhizomatous annuals or perennials, commonly coumarin-scented. Leaf-blades flat; ligules membranous. Inflorescence a condensed panicle; glumes 2, very unequal, the lower 1-nerved, the upper 3-nerved and longer than florets. Spikelets 3-flowered, the fertile, membranous 5–7-nerved lemma subtended by 2 longer, firmer, dorsally awned, 3-nerved sterile ones, falling together; palea 1-nerved, shorter than fertile lemma.
20 species of temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, but widely naturalised; 2 in Australia and Victoria.