Perennial, rhizomatous, mat-forming, prickly, rigid, glaucous. Leaf blade linear or linear-lanceolate, rigid, thick, needle-like, pungent, flat or rolled, standing at an angle of +/- 45 degrees to culm; ligule a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a dense and spike-like panicle with short, crowded subsecund branches; spikelets 2-ranked, solitary, shortly pedicelled. Spikelet +/- laterally compressed, disarticulating above glumes and between florets; glumes very unequal, similar, shorter than spikelet, scarious to membranous, narrowly ovate, rounded or weakly keeled, 1-nerved, subacute, awnless or minutely mucronate. Florets 4-9, bisexual, with upper floret reduced and sterile; lemma broadly elliptic, similar to firmer in texture to glumes, membranous, 3-nerved, lateral nerves long hairy all over, central nerve hairy towards base, hairs shorter, incised, shortly 2-lobed, mucronate or awned on back just below apex; awn short, stout; callus short, hairy; palea +/- as long as lemma, lanceolate, truncate, 2-keeled, concave between keels, scabrid on keels, sparsely pilose. Lodicules 2, broadly cuneate, glabrous. Stamens 3; anthers long. Ovary obovoid; styles free, plumose. Caryopsis (achene) ellipsoid, with free pericarp.
Species 2, coastal Red Sea, tropical and sthn Afr.; 1 in sthn Afr.: Odyssea paucinervis (Nees) Stapf, Namibia, Botswana, Northern Province, North-West and northwest Western 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