Annual or perennial, rhizomatous or stoloniferous, rooting from lower nodes, sometimes floating. Leaf blade expanded or rolled, linear; ligule a fringed membrane to a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence an elongated, secund, false spike consisting of several sessile, spike-like, 1-sided racemes scattered singly on alternate sides and +/- appressed to long central axis; rachis triquetrous or winged, usually ending in an inconspicuous point; spikelets solitary or paired, often in 2 rows, sessile or very shortly pedicelled; abaxial (upper) glume turned away from rachis. Spikelet ovate, dorsiventrally compressed, falling with glumes; glumes unequal, awnless; lower glume a small membranous scale, 1-5-nerved; upper glume up to two-thirds as long as spikelet, 3-11-nerved, membranous. Florets 2; lower floret male or sterile; lemma membranous, +/- oblong-elliptic, rounded dorsally, subacute, 5-7-nerved, awnless; palea thinly membranous, equalling lemma; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, broadly elliptic, rounded dorsally, almost as long as spikelet, glabrous, rugose, entire, margins inrolled and clasping edges of palea, awnless; palea elliptic-lanceolate, acute, tip often briefly reflexed, flat and 2-keeled with margins involute, indurated. Lodicules 2, broadly cuneate, fleshy. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles connate at base, plumose. Caryopsis ellipsoid, dorsiventrally compressed. x= 9 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 40, warmer regions of both hemispheres; 2 in sthn Afr., N Namibia and Botswana, northern provinces of South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal.

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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