Annuals or perennials; culms ribbed or terete, smooth. Leaf blades suddenly narrowed at base, often petiole-like. Inflorescence consisting of several spike-like racemes digitately arranged. Racemes many noded, breaking up at maturity. Spikelets in pairs, the one pedicelled, finally falling off from pedicel, the other usually sessile and falling off with adjacent rachis-joint, rarely shortly pedicelled and deciduous at maturity. Spikelets oblong, dorsally compressed, usually awned, with short, bearded callus, dorsiventrally arranged; lower glumes as long as spikelets or slightly shorter, apex truncate or 2-toothed, with a longitudinal depression on back, margins inflexed, without midnerve; upper glume as long as spikelet, boat-shaped keeled, acute, acuminate or awned, 3-nerved; lower lemma, if present hyaline, nerveless; lower palea present or absent, often apparently substituting for a lower lemma; upper lemma thinly membranous, entire, 2-toothed or 2-lobed usually awned, the awn very slender and flexuous; upper palea small or wanting; : lodicules 2, curieate, small; stamens 3; stigmas exserted at or below apes. Caryopsis Oblong.
About 30 species distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia.
Eight species, mostly forest grasses, are found in the mountain regions of Taiwan.
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Vascular Plant Type Catalog at NYBG: Link