Perennial, tufted. Leaf blade expanded or rolled; ligule a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle or raceme; spikelets usually in triads, rarely in pairs, pedicels of triads entirely or partly fused, thus mimicking a single spikelet, rarely pedicels free, pedicels slender, often of different lengths, longest pedicel much longer than shortest pedicel. Spikelet large, 10-45 mm long, laterally to not noticeably compressed, disarticulating above glumes; glumes unequal, lanceolate, +/- persistent, chartaceous or subcoriaceous, 3-5-nerved, glabrous or hairy, hairs usually tubercle-based; upper glume usually as long as spikelet. Florets 2; lower floret male; lemma membranous, 3-7-nerved, glabrous or hairy, awnless; palea well developed; upper floret bisexual; lemma convolute, similar to firmer in texture to glumes, usually cartilaginous, 5-9-nerved, glabrous or hairy, hairs not in tufts, incised, 2-lobed, lobes awnless or awned, central awn from between lobes; awn geniculate and twisted, usually longer than body of lemma; callus conical, pungent, pubescent; palea membranous, 2-keeled, hyaline, keels thickened but not winged. Lodicules 2, cuneate, very fleshy. Stamens 3. Ovary obovoid to oblong, glabrous or apex hairy; styles plumose. Caryopsis longitudinally grooved; embryo large. x= 10, 12 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 22, tropical and sthn Afr., Madagascar, tropical America; 6 in sthn Afr., N Namibia, Botswana, northern provinces of South Africa, Swaziland, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern 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