Annuals or perennials. Inflorescence a cylindric, spike-like panicle, consisting of deciduous clusters of 3-11 spikelets surrounded by an involucre of stiff bracts; bracts narrowly-elliptic, free to the base with obtuse or awned apices. Spikelets as long as the bracts. Lower glume 0. Upper glume subulate with a broad base; back facing inwards. Upper lemma cartilaginous.