Plants annual. Culms usually erect. Leaf sheath split almost to base; auricles cresent-shaped; leaf blade usually flat. Spike cylindric, lanceolate, or ovoid, dense; rachis disarticulating below each spikelet into segments. Spikelets 1 per node, sessile and fitting into rachis, cylindric or turgid, with 2–8 florets; rachilla not jointed, shortly pilose. Glumes rounded abaxially, leathery or cartilaginous, many veined, not keeled, apex truncate or toothed; teeth usually prolonged into longish awns. Lemma oblong or lanceolate, rounded abaxially, leathery-membranous to leathery, 5–7-veined, not keeled, apex usually 1–3-toothed or -awned; callus very short, obtuse. Palea equaling or subequaling lemma, ciliate along keels. Caryopsis free or adherent to lemma and palea, oblong-ovate, furrowed, apex hairy. x = 7.
"Spikelets 2–5-fld, turgid, borne flatwise singly and fitting closely into alternate hollows on 2 sides of the rachis, the joints thickened and exposed at the top, the whole spike compact and cylindrical, at maturity breaking off at the base or disarticulating into joints; glumes indurate, many-veined, not or scarcely keeled, 2–4-toothed at the truncate tip, 1 or more of the teeth sometimes produced into an awn; lemmas rounded on the back, indurate above, the veins not convergent, toothed at the truncate summit, one or more of the teeth often prolonged into an awn; caryopsis furrowed on the back, hairy at the top; annual grasses with flat lvs. 15, Medit. reg. and w. Asia."