Perenmals or annuals; culms solid, with one long internode alternating with several short internodes. Leaves therefore more or less in groups, and branches apparently opposite; ligule membranous. Blades linear. Inflorescence consisting of secund, subsessile, digitately arranged spikes, seldom a solitary spike. Spikelets solitary, sessile, alternate on abaxial side of rachis, obliquely erect, laterally compressed, imbricate, one side turned to rachis; upper glumes at outer side, 3-several-flowered, unawned; rachilla glabrous, articulate below lemmas, breaking up
maturity or not; glumes and lemma strongly keeled-compressed, often shortly ciliate on keel; glumes shorter than spikelet, long-persistent; upper glume longer than the lower; lemmas successively smaller upwards; palea shorter, 2-nerved; lodicules 2, small; stamens 3, the anthers short; ovary glabrous, the styles 2, free, with narrow stigmas. Utricles broadly ellipsoid, ribbed, with thin, not adnate pericarp; embryo basal, nearly circular, the hilum basal, punctiform.
About nine species distributed in tropical and subtropical regions.
Two species are found in Taiwan, E. indica is a common weed, and the other; E. coracana is a cultivated cereal grass, this species is widely cultivated as a cereal and/or used for making alcoholic beverage in Ceylon, India, Africa and elsewhere, it is also useful as fodder.