Annuals or perennials. Inflorescence a condensed, ellipsoid to capitate, spike-like panicle. Spikelets laterally flattened, 1-flowered, but with 1-2 lower sterile, much-reduced florets, disarticulating above the glumes. Glumes equal to subequal, 3-nerved, persistent, strongly keeled, the keel usually winged, completely enclosing the florets.
Sterile lemmas very small, scale-like, membranous; fertile lemma 5-nerved, coriaceous to indurate, often glossy, acute.
Worldwide: 15 species in the N temperate zone, mainly Mediterranean and in California; also S America and as weeds elsewhere.
Zimbabwe: 2 taxa.
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