Densely tufted perennial up to 25(–100) cm high. Racemes 4–14 cm long, terminal or sometimes 1–2 axillary, silvery to grey or purple; internodes villous. Sessile spikelet lanceolate; callus broadly cuneate, 1–1.5 mm long; lower glume with body 4–8 mm long, villous on the back, entire or divided at the tip into 2 teeth up to 7 mm long. Pedicelled spikelet lanceolate, 4–7 mm long, pubescent to villous, acuminate or with a short awn-point.
N1 tropical Africa southwards to South Africa and eastwards to Arabia; tropical and subtropical America.