Perennial, tufted, often rooting at nodes. Culms slender, ascending, geniculate, branched. Leaf blade linear, expanded; ligule a fringed membrane or a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a solitary, terminal, contracted panicle, branches appressed to central axis, each branch disarticulating with a spikelet; spikelets solitary, surrounded by a ring of short hairs at base, subtended by a long, robust, awn-like bristle, supported on a long, pungent callus beneath spikelet, callus constituting stipe; cleistogamousspikelets resembling normal spikelets except for absence of bristle, occurring at base of inflorescence and hidden in uppermost leaf sheaths. Spikelet dorsiventrally compressed; glumes +/- equal, minute, rarely 0, similar, glabrous, awnless. Florets 2, lower sterile, reduced to a lemma, dorsally flattened, 7-11-nerved, awnless; palea 0; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, similar to lower floret but convex dorsally, 7-nerved, glabrous, margins flat and exposed on palea, acuminate, awnless; palea +/- as long as lemma. Lodicules 2. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous. x= 9.
Species 2, tropical west Africa, Madagascar, Cuba and Brazil; 1 in sthn Afr.: Paratheriaprostrata Griseb., Namibia, in Okavango River.

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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