Description from Flora of China
Annuals or perennials. Culms erect, geniculately ascending or decumbent. Leaves basal or cauline; leaf blades filiform or linear to lanceolate or ovate, usually flat. Inflorescence usually a terminal open panicle, variously condensed or occasionally spicate rarely racemose. Spikelets usually symmetrical and dorsally compressed, disarticulating below the glumes; 2-flowered, the lower floret staminate or barren, the upper bisexual. Glumes herbaceous to membranous, ovate or oblong, obtuse to acute, acuminate or cuspidate; lower usually shorter than the spikelet, rarely equal, an internode between the glumes sometimes present, upper glume as long as spikelet, or slightly shorter; lower lemma similar to upper glume, with or without a palea; upper floret coriaceous, bony or cartilaginous, the margins of the lemma inrolled and clasping the palea, apex obtuse to acute or apiculate, crested or excavated. Hilum rounded to oval. x = 9, 10.
Panicum miliaceum (Proso Millet) is grown in China as a cereal crop. Panicum coloratum (Buffalo Grass), P. maximum (Guinea Grass), and P. virgatum (Switch Grass) have been introduced to China and are widely grown for fodder.
About 500 species:pantropical, extending into temperate regions of North America; 21 species (four introduced) in China.
(Authors: Chen Shouliang (陈守良); Stephen A. Renvoize)