Plants perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 18-145 cm, erect to decumbent, often rooting at the nodes; internodes hollow. Sheaths open to the base; auricles absent; ligules membranous; blades flat. Inflorescences terminal panicles; branches scabrous, usually densely scabrid distally. Spikelets pedicellate, laterally compressed to terete; florets 2-8; disarticulation above the glumes and between the florets. Glumes unequal, shorter than the lowest lemma, rounded to weakly keeled, veins obscure to prominent, unawned; lower glumes 1(3)-veined; upper glumes (1)3(5)-veined; calluses blunt, glabrous; lemmas rounded to weakly keeled, sometimes pubescent, particularly below, prominently (5)7-9-veined, veins more or less parallel, veins and interveins usually scabridulous, particularly distally, lateral veins usually reduced or absent, apices scabridulous and entire to serrate-erose, unawned; paleassubequal to the lemmas, 2-veined; lodicules 2, free, glabrous, entire or toothed; anthers usually 3; ovaries usually hairy, sometimes glabrous. Caryopses oblong, flattened dorsally, falling free; hila oblong, about 1/3 the length of the caryopses. x = 7. Named for John Torrey (1796-1873), an American botanist.