Annuals or perennials. Inflorescences of slender persistent racemes, usually arranged digitately, less often along a central axis. Spikelets 2-4(-6)-flowered, alternate in two rows, disarticulating above the glumes. Glumes unequal, membranous, 1-nerved, usually persistent. Lowermost floret fertile; fertile lemma cartilaginous, 3-nerved, laterally flattened, usually ciliate on the margins and keel, entire or 2-lobed at the apex with a subapical awn; 2nd to 6th florets sterile; lemmas vestigial, awned or awnless.