Perennials with short to long, woody rhizomes. Culms terete, leafy throughout or leaves mostly basal. Leaves long, linear, flat, channelled, or inrolled; ligule chartaceous or long-ciliate. Inflorescence panicle-like, with several clusters of branches at each node, each branch subtended by a more or less leafy bract. Spikelets with 1 or 2 flowers, the upper bisexual, the lower when present sterile or male; glumes arranged spirally; hypogynous bristles rarely present; stamens 3–6, filaments usually persistent at base of nut, and often elongated and holding mature nut in inflorescence; style 2–5-fid. Nut triquetrous, trigonous or terete, glabrous.
About 40 species in Australian region, Asia and the Pacific Islands; c. 22 species in Australia.
The glumes and nuts of immature material are often much paler than those of mature specimens.