Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial, forming slender to massive tussocks. Roots stout. Rhizomes woody. Culms erect, usually tall and robust, terete, several noded. Leaves linear, deeply many channeled, narrowly crescent-shaped, twisted lengthwise through 180°, involute on drying; ligule present, usually truncate, papery. Inflorescences plumose-paniculate, usually decompound, consisting of several fascicles per node. Spikelets brown or black, numerous, solitary or 2-4 together. Flowers 1 or 2, apical one bisexual, usually with a second more basal one male. Glumes black or dark brown, spirally arranged, papery; basal 3-8 glumes empty, lanceolate, keeled, abaxial surface and margin scabrous, apex acute; apical 2 or 3 glumes smaller than remaining ones, thin at anthesis but becoming thick in fruit, apex obtuse; apicalmost glume bearing a bisexual flower. Perianth bristles absent. Stamens (2 or)3[or 6]; filaments elongating markedly after anthesis, persistent on nutlet and entangled in glumes thereby suspending fruit. Stigmas 3[or 4]. Nutlet ovoid, ellipsoid, obovoid-fusiform, or globose, terete or 3-sided; endocarp blackish, thick, bony.
About 30 species: S and SE Asia; three species in China.
(Authors: Liang Songyun (梁松筠 Liang Song-jun); Jeremy J. Bruhl, Karen L. Wilson)