Perennial; culms woody, stiffly geniculate, branched profusely from swollen nodes. Leaf blade linear, expanded or rolled, often spiny, hard and brittle; leaf sheath broad and papery; ligule a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a contracted but loose panicle, branches slender, each with 2-6 spikelets; spikelets solitary or paired, pedicels unequal, hairy, contracted at base into a short stalk which fits into cup-like apex of pedicel. Spikelet 7 mm long, dorsiventrally compressed, falling with glumes; glumes +/- equal to unequal, +/- equal to longer than spikelet, dissimilar; lower glume membranous, lanceolate, obtuse or notched at apex, hairy at base, 3-nerved; upper glume ovate-lanceolate, tapering into a long awn-like apex, 5-7-nerved, long-hairy dorsally, with a transverse fringe or tufts of hairs on either side just above middle, or a continuous fringe. Florets 2; lower floret male, lemma equalling upper glume, channelled dorsally, hairy, hairs always in 2 fringes; palea well developed; upper floret bisexual; lemma +/- half as long as lower lemma, elliptic, obtuse, indurated, smooth, glossy, glabrous, faintly 5-nerved, awnless; palea relatively long. Lodicules 2, cuneate, fleshy. Stamens 3. Ovary ellipsoid; styles free, plumose. x= 9 (1 report).
Species 1, Angola and sthn Afr.: Leucophrys mesocoma (Nees) Rendle; sthn Afr. in S Namibia to Northern 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