Perennial or annual, tufted, erect, often decumbent, rhizomatous. Leaf blade linear, convolute at first, becoming expanded, gradually passing into sheath; ligule an unfringed to a fringed membrane. Inflorescence of 2-many, terminal, spike-like, hairy (silky) racemes, digitate or subdigitate or scattered on a central axis, dense with spikelets closely packed; internodes and pedicels linear, slender; spikelets similar, in pairs, in long-short combinations: one sessile, the other pedicelled, pedicels free and hairy. Spikelet dorsiventrally compressed, falling with glumes; glumes +/- equal, dissimilar, hairy, usually awnless; lower glume concave to +/- flattened, with inflexed margins, hairy or glabrous, nerveless or faintly 2- or 3-nerved, 2-keeled; upper glume often narrower, keeled, acute. Florets 2; lower floret reduced to a lemma, sometimes a small scale or 0, awnless; upper floret bisexual; lemma less firm than glumes, hyaline, linear to cordate, 2-lobed, awnless or awned from between lobes; awn geniculate, twisted; callus obtuse, hairy; palea small, hyaline or 0. Lodicules 2, fleshy. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles 2, plumose. Caryopsis oblong. x= 5, 10 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 30, tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia; 2 in sthn Afr., Mpumalanga, Swaziland to KwaZulu-Natal and southwards to Eastern Cape.

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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