Annual or perennial, tufted or decumbent, sometimes stoloniferous. Leaf blade expanded; ligule a fringed membrane to a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence of 2-many or solitary, 1-sided racemes, scattered alternately on a central axis; rachis 3-angled or flat; spikelets solitary or paired, more rarely in clusters of 3 or 4; pedicels often reduced to disc-tipped stumps; lower glume turned away from rachis (abaxial). Spikelet dorsiventrally compressed, plano-convex, ovate or lanceolate, falling entire at maturity; glumes unequal, dissimilar, awnless; lower glume usually shorter than spikelet, 3-5-nerved; upper glume as long as spikelet, 5-11-nerved. Florets 2; lower floret male or sterile; lemma 5-7-nerved, resembling upper glume, awnless; palea almost as long as lemma or reduced, 2-keeled; upper floret bisexual; lemma shorter than spikelet, firmer than glumes, indurated, entire, rounded at apex, margins inrolled and clasping only edges of palea, rugose, faintly 5-7-nerved, mucronate or awned; awn scabrid, straight, shorter than spikelet; palea obtuse, almost as long as and same texture as lemma, 2-keeled. Lodicules 2, small, cuneate. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles plumose. Caryopsis broadly ellipsoid to subrotund, dorsiventrally compressed. x= 7, 9, 15 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 12; 6 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