Description: Densely to loosely caespitose perennials, sometimes with short rhizomes.
Sheaths often ciliate above; ligule usually membranous.
Inflorescence a loose or slightly contracted panicle.
Spikeletes with one bisexual floret, disarticulating above the glumes. Glumes usually longer than the floret (excluding awn), 1–5-nerved, often tapering to a fine tip. Lemma more or less terete, sometimes slightly laterally compressed, stiffly membranous to coriaceous, usually with short hairs, bearing a single terminal awn mostly between 0–2 small membranous lobes; awn usually scabrous or scaberulous, articulated with the lemma, once or twice-geniculate, usually loosely twisted below; callus usually short and comparatively blunt; palea 30–100% length of the lemma.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species from temperate areas of the N. Hemisphere and S. America. Australia: 2 species, both introduced, N.S.W., Tas.
From the Greek words for 'scale' and 'awn', referring to the awned lemma.
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Caryopsis obovoid, the style base central; lemma surface ± hairy all over though often with a bare area between the midrib and first lateral vein, especially towards the apex.||Amelichloa brachychaeta|
|Caryopsis broadly obovoid or almost gibbous, the style base eccentric; lemma surface hairy along the midrib and between the outermost lateral nerves on the margin, the area between the midrib and the first lateral vein ± glabrous.||Amelichloa caudata|