Annual or perennial, tufted, rhizomatous. Leaf blade narrow, expanded or rolled; ligule a fringed membrane or a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle, rarely spike-like. Spikelet laterally compressed; disarticulating above glumes and between florets; glumes +/- equal or unequal, shorter than spikelet, narrowly lanceolate, 1-nerved, mostly 2-lobed, awned. Florets 3-24, bisexual; uppermost florets reduced; lemma scarious or membranous, keeled, 3-nerved, long-hairy on lateral nerves or all nerves, deeply 3-lobed, 3-awned as each lobe is awned, lateral awns shorter than central awn; awns slender, straight; callus hairy; palea shorter than lemma, hyaline. Lodicules 2, minute, delicate, glabrous. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles plumose. Caryopsis linear, trigonous. x= 10.
Species 7, Africa and Arabian Peninsula, 1 in Australia; 5 in sthn Afr., widespread.