Plants annual or perennial; cespitose or rhizomatous, sometimes both cespitose and shortly rhizomatous. Culms 7-210 cm, branched above the bases, often purplish near the nodes. Leaves not aromatic, sheaths open; auricles usually absent; ligules membranous; blades flat, folded, or involute, those of the uppermost leaves often greatly reduced. Inflorescences axillary and terminal, of 1, rarely 2, rames, peduncles subtended by a modified leaf; rames not reflexed, with spikelets in heterogamous sessile-pedicellate spikelet pairs, internodes more or less flattened, filiform to clavate, without a median groove, apices cupulate or fimbriate; disarticulation in the rame axes, below the sessile spikelets. Spikelets somewhat dorsiventrally compressed. Sessile spikelets with 2 florets; glumes exceeding the florets, lanceolate to linear, membranous; lower glumes enclosing the upper glumes, convex, weakly 2-keeled, with several (sometimes inconspicuous) intercostal veins; lower florets reduced to hyaline lemmas; upper florets bisexual, lemmas hyaline, bilobed or bifid to 7/8 of their length (rarely entire), awned from the sinuses; anthers 3. Pedicels free of the rame axes, usually pubescent. Pedicellate spikelets usually shorter than to as long as the sessile spikelets, occasionally longer, sterile or staminate, with 1 floret, often disarticulating as the rame matures; lemmas present in staminate spikelets, hyaline, unawned or with a straight awn of less than 10 mm. x = 10. Name from the Greek schizo, split, and achyron, chaff, referring to the divided lemma.