Description: Rhizomatous or tufted perennials.
Leaves with sheath compressed; ligule a very short rim; blade flat or folded, tip blunt.
Inflorescence few to many digitate or subdigitate spikes.
Spikelets laterally compressed, sessile, crowded in 2 rows on one side of a flattened or angular scabrid axis, disarticulating above the glumes; florets 2, the lower fertile, the upper sterile. Glumes unequal, pale, 1-nerved. Lemmas awnless or mucronate, firmly membranous; lower lemma densely bearded on the margins; the upper lemma blunt, inflated. Palea 2-keeled.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 10 species, tropical America, Asia & Africa. Australia: 1 species (naturalized).
E. petraea Desv. has also been cultivated on experiment stations but has not been recorded naturalized.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & K. L. McClay