Description: Tufted perennials with short rhizome. Culms nodeless [or noded].
Leaves basal [or also cauline]; blade bristle-like, flat or reduced; ligule mostly absent.
Inflorescence narrow, panicle-like or reduced to a few spikelets. Involucral bracts leaf-like. Spikelets several–many, solitary or in clusters, compressed or terete, 1- or 2-,(–4)-flowered, if more than 1 flower then lowest male, upper bisexual. Rachilla very short, straight, not produced beyond the upper flower. Glumes 4–7, rarely to 12, distichous or subdistichous, the lowest ones (usually 4–6) empty, the upper ones flower-bearing and larger. Hypogynous bristles (0–)2–9, filiform, sometimes shortly plumose or antrorsely scabrous. Stamens 3, 4, 6 or 8. Style 3-, 4-, 6- or 8-fid, thickened towards base, persistent on nut.
Nut usually trigonous, with style base sometimes conspicuous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 35 species, mostly extra-tropical southern Africa, Australia, Borneo. Australia: 4 species (3 species endemic), all States.
Text by K. L. Wilson
|One species in NSW: Tetraria capillaris|