Perennial or annual. Leaf blade linear, expanded, tapering to a fine point; ligule a reduced fringed membrane or fringe of hairs. Inflorescence of few to many spike-like racemes arranged on a central axis, or paniculate; spikelets either solitary, in pairs, or in short clusters, supported on a bead-like swelling. Spikelet lanceolate to elliptic, dorsiventrally compressed, acute to aristate, falling with glumes; glumes usually unequal, dissimilar; lower glume reduced or apparently absent; upper glume as long as spikelet, ovate-elliptic, 5-nerved, glabrous or hairy, mucronate or usually shortly awned. Florets 2; lower floret sterile or male; lemma similar in shape and texture to upper glume; palea similar to lemma or reduced, or 0; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, elliptic with inflexed margins, finely rugose, 5-nerved, glabrous, abruptly mucronate, awned or awnless; awn straight, shorter than body of lemma; palea elliptic, obtuse with inflexed margins. Lodicules 2, broadly cuneate, sometimes somewhat suppressed. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles distinct or united at base, plumose. Caryopsis oblong-ellipsoid, dorsiventrally compressed, obtuse. x= 9 (high polyploidy).
Species 30, tropics; 5 in sthn Afr., Namibia, Botswana, North-West, Mpumalanga, Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith