Description: Mostly perennials with solid culms. Racemes many-jointed, usually paired, digitate or subdigitate, subtended by a spathe; rachis articulate, fragile.
Spikelets paired, those of each pair differing in sex and sometimes in size, or both of the lowest pair of the lowest raceme male or imperfect. Sessile spikelets falling with the axis joint and accompanying pedicel. Florets 2, the lower reduced to an empty lemma, the upper bisexual in the sessile spikelets, male, sterile or suppressed in the pedicellate spikelets. Sessile spikelets usually awned, the callus short. Glumes equal or subequal, the lower 2-keeled, the upper 1–3-nerved. Lemmas hyaline, the lower 2-nerved, the upper sometimes firmer, 2-toothed, awned from between the teeth. Palea hyaline, nerveless, very small or absent. Lodicules 2, minute, glabrous. Stamens 3. Pedicellate spikelet often very different in shape.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: 3 species (naturalized), Qld, N.S.W., W.A.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall