Description: Tall, tufted perennial with cane-like stems and solid internodes exuding sugary syrup when cut; culms present in vegetative stage and growing to 6 m high and 6 cm diam.; axillary bud and 'root ring' (ring of tissue containing root primordia) above each node.
Leaves with ligule membranous, hairs at the orifice; blade hairy, margins scabrous, auriculate or not, midrib conspicuous.
Inflorescence a large open panicle, plume-like and silky.
Spikelets borne in pairs, 1 sessile and 1 pedicellate, each subtended by a ring of silky hairs longer than the spikelet, with 2 florets, lower floret reduced, upper floret bisexual; pair of spikelets falling together. Glumes equal, hardened, keeled. Lower lemma sterile, papery, enfolding a small palea of the fertile floret, lemma of upper (fertile) floret absent. Palea thin, narrow.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 6 species, N.G, Asia, Africa, America. Australia: 1 species (naturalized).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & K. L. McClay