Tufted or stoloniferous perennials. Leaf-blades flat or inrolled; ligules membranous, rather long. Inflorescence a slender, rather loose panicle, often drooping. Glumes 2, 1–7-nerved, more or less equal, persistent, shorter than florets; lemma 5–7-nerved, firmer than glumes, shallowly to deeply 2–4-lobed or toothed at apex, sometimes bristle-tipped, dorsally awned from above to slightly below midway, the awn sinuate or geniculate; palea shorter than lemma.
12 species; 1 occurring in New Zealand, 2 in South America and 10 in Australia (9 endemic); 8 in Victoria. Commonly occurring in perennially or seasonally swampy ground.
Clayton & Renvoize (1986) include Amphibromus within the large, mainly Eurasian genus Helictotrichon. Australian species are anomalous within Helictotrichon in having a glabrous, not hairy, ovary.