Herbs, perennial. Rhizomes short. Culms tufted, erect, terete or 3-angled. Leaves basal, rarely 1 or 2 cauline, often reduced to sheaths; ligule absent. Inflorescences paniculate, usually much branched. Spikelets solitary or clustered, compressed, narrowly ovoid-oblong, 1- or 2(or 3)-flowered, basalmost flower usually male, apical flower(s) bisexual. Glumes 4-6, pale brown, distichous, membranous, glabrous, 1-veined, keeled, basal 2-4 empty. Perianth scales (3-)6, whitish, lanceolate to linear, short, flat, hyaline. Stamens 3; connective apex apiculate. Stigmas 3. Nutlet brown, sessile, obovoid or pyriform, small, 3-sided, with 3 pale ribs, hispid at apex.