Annuals or perennials, with a knotty rhizomatous base. Inflorescence a narrow, often spike-like, terminal panicle. Spikelets 1-flowered, disarticulating above the glumes; floret bisexual equalling or shorter than the glumes. Glumes persistent, (1-)3(-11)-nerved, equal or unequal, acuminate to obtuse. Lemma cylindric, 3-nerved, becoming indurate at maturity, articulation present; basal callus densely barbate or glabrous; awns 3; at least the central awn plumose, or, if glabrous, then with a penicil of hairs at the base of the column.