Perennial, long-stoloniferous; culms many-noded, branched, floating, smooth, spongy. Leaf blade linear, expanded; ligule an unfringed membrane. Inflorescence spike-like, a coarse cylindrical raceme enveloped below by uppermost leaf sheath of which blade is as long as inflorescence; spikelet subtended by a solitary 4-6-lobed herbaceous scale or cupule, one lobe almost free, scabrid and awn-like, very long, the whole forming a purplish involucre-plus-bristle; spikelets solitary, supported on blunt stipe, falling entire with involucre and peduncle. Spikelet lanceolate, dorsiventrally compressed; glumes unequal, awnless; lower glume hyaline, nerveless, sometimes absent; upper glume shorter than spikelet, membranous, 1-3-nerved. Florets 2, lower floret male; lemma convex on back, acute, 9-nerved, awnless; palea well developed; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, as long as spikelet, cartilaginous below, entire, 7-nerved, margins flat and exposed on palea, tip caudate, awnless; palea as long as lemma, scaberulous on keels. Lodicules 0. Stamens 3. Ovary ellipsoid or obovoid; style long, stigma 1, shortly plumose, exserted from apex. Caryopsis oblong, dorsiventrally compressed.
Species 1: Odontelytrum abyssinicum Hack., tropical east Africa, from Ethiopia to sthn Afr., Mpumalanga.

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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