Perennial, tufted. Leaf blade expanded or rolled, frequently slightly auricled; ligule a delicate, hyaline, unfringed membrane. Inflorescence an erect terminal raceme or a narrow panicle, often secund; spikelets solitary, on short pedicels with thickened tips; pedicels capillary and often nodding. Spikelet 5-15 mm long, weakly laterally compressed, variously disarticulating; glumes +/- equal or unequal, +/- equal to spikelet, papery, similar, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, subacuminate, acute or subacute; upper glume 3-7-nerved. Florets 3-6; lower 2 florets (rarely 1 or 3) bisexual; upper 2 or 3 florets sterile, reduced to lemmas compacted to form a club-shaped body on prolonged rachis, glabrous or hairy; bisexual floret: lemma lanceolate, membranous, 7-9-nerved, rounded on back, hairy with long, silky, silvery hairs on back or only near margins, awnless; callus short, glabrous; palea shorter than lemma, lanceolate or oblanceolate, acute, 2-keeled, ciliate on keels. Lodicules 2, short, thick, rounded, glabrous. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles distinct, short, finely plumose. x= 9 (7) (polyploidy).
Species +/- 80, temperate regions throughout the world except Australia; 2 in sthn Afr., widespread, not recorded from Namibia and Botswana.

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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