Annuals or perennials; culms more or less compressed, filled with pith, glabrous, long internodes sometimes alternating with one or more short ones; ligule short. Blades flat. Inflorescence consisting of secund, digitately arranged spikes, rarely solitary. Spikelets crowded, sessile, alternate on abaxial side of rachis with upper glumes on outer side of spike, at first imbricate, afterward spreading, strongly laterally compressed, 2-4-flowered, ultimate floret rudimentary, others bisexual; rachilla not produced, articulate below lower lemma; glumes shorter than spikelet, deeply cymbiform-keeled, 1-nerved; lower glume acute, persistent; upper glume mucronate or with short awn, rarely obtuse, 2-keeled, long-persistent; lodicules 2, very small, cuneate; stamens 3; the anther sometimes small; ovary glabrous, the styles 2, free, rather long, the stigmas narrow, subapically exserted. Caryopsis ellipsoid, terete or compressed, rugose, granulate or smooth, the apex notched, truncate or rounded; the pericarp thin, free, embryo up to 1/2 as long as the caryopsis, the hilum punctiform, basal.
About ten species distributed in the warm countries.
One common weed, D. aegyptium is found in Taiwan.