Plants annual or perennial; habit various. Culms 20-150 cm, erect, decumbent, or prostrate. Sheaths open; ligules of hairs or membranous and ciliate. Inflorescences terminal, simple panicles or panicles of spikelike primary branches, usually with capillary secondary branches and pedicels; disarticulation below the glumes, sometimes also below the upper florets, the upper florets then falling first. Spikelets with 2 florets. Lower glumes present or absent, 0-1-veined, unawned; upper glumes equaling or exceeding the florets, sometimes gibbous basally, 5-7-veined, emarginate to bilobed, awned or unawned; lower florets staminate or sterile; lower lemmas similar to the upper glumes, but not gibbous; upper florets bisexual, laterally compressed; upper lemmas subcoriaceous, glabrous, smooth, unawned; upper paleas resembling the upper lemmas; lodicules 2, fleshy or membranous. x = 9. Name from the Greek meline, millet.