Description: Annuals or perennials.
Leaves with blade folded in bud.
Inflorescence a cylindrical spike-like raceme subtended by spathes; rachis fragile, jointed.
Spikelets paired, 1 sessile, the other shortly pedicellate. Sessile spikelet falling with adjacent axis joint and pedicellate spikelet; joints and pedicels thickened upwards, hollowed out and ± toothed at the apex. Florets 2 per spikelet, the lower sterile. Sessile spikelets bisexual, dorsally compressed, awned; upper floret bisexual; callus short. Glumes equal or subequal, the lower 2-keeled; upper glume keeled at least upwards, 1–3-nerved. Lemmas ciliolate, shorter than glumes, the lower 2-nerved, the upper usually 2-lobed with a slender awn between the lobes. Palea absent or minute. Stamens 3, rarely 2. Pedicellate spikelet ±
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60 species, tropical regions. Australia: 8 species (native), Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall