Annual or perennial, tufted, sometimes rhizomatous or stoloniferous or mat-forming. Leaf blade linear, flat, folded or rolled; ligule a short, inconspicuous, fringed membrane or a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a panicle, open, ovoid or pyramidal, or contracted, sometimes spike-like; branches, especially lowermost, whorled or not; spikelets subsessile or pedicelled. Spikelet small, laterally to not noticeably compressed, disarticulating above glumes; glumes +/- equal to unequal, shorter to longer than spikelet, 1-nerved, glabrous, keeled to keelless, awnless, upper glume not to slightly 1-keeled. Floret 1, bisexual, rarely rudiment of a second floret present; lemma similar to upper glume, similar in texture to glumes, membranous, often shining, 1-3-nerved, entire, glabrous, awnless, occasionally with a subulate tip; palea 2-nerved, often grooved between nerves. Lodicules 2, hyaline, truncate or 0. Stamens 2 or 3. Ovary often globose; styles free, plumose above. Caryopsis globose to ellipsoid, rounded or truncate, with a thin pericarp that swells and becomes detached from seed when wet, forcibly ejecting seed. x= 9, 10 (high polyploidy).
Species +/- 160, tropical and warm temperate; 38 in sthn Afr., widespread.

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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