Perennials; culms branched, many noded, prostrate or ascending Ligule very
short, membranous, sometimes ciliate; blades linear, folded in bud, afterwards flat. Inflorescence a spike-like raceme, compressed, narrower and sterile at apex. Spikelets paired, the one sessile, the other pedicelled, pairs alternate along rachis; rachis not or tardily breaking up; sessile and pedicelled spikelet , dorsi-ventrally placed, all of a kind towards the same side of rachis. Sessile spikelets partially dorsally sunken into cavities formed by rachis-joint and adjacent pedicel, long-acuminate, falling entire, the base long-decurrent on and adnate to rachis, acute, glabrous; lower glume abaxial, coriaceous, fiat, long-acuminate, narrowly wing-keeled, margins very narrowly inflexed, closely nerved; upper glume equally long, membranous, boat-shaped, tightly pressed against wall of cavity; lemmas hyaline, smaller; paleas hyaline, nerveless, or wanting; lower lemma 2-nerved; upper lemma usually nerveless; lodicules 2, cuneate; stamens 3; stigmas laterally exserted. Caryopsis oblong, slightly dorsally compressed, the hilum basal, punctiform, embryo about 2/3 as long as caryopsis. Pedicelled spikelets, especially the higher ones longer, acuminate, the pedicel adhering to rachis otherwise like sessile spikelet.
About ten species distributed in tropical Africa, Madagascar, Indo-Malaya, China and Japan.
One common species, H. compressa is found in Taiwan.