Herbs perennial, 2-10 m; rhizomes scaly, without cormlike buds, stout and short to long and slender. Culms tufted or in line on rhizome. Leaves: principal blades 5-20 cm, margins hispid-ciliate. Spikelets ovoid, lance-ovoid, or lance-cylindric, 8-15(-20) mm; fertile scales 2.5-3.5 mm. Flowers: anthers 3, 0.9-1.2 mm. 2n = 30.
Fruiting summer-fall. Sands, clays, peats, gravels, often over limestones, in interdunal swales, seeps, low open woods, savannas and prairies, often along stream terraces; 0-500 m; Ark., Kans., N.Mex., Okla., Tex; Mexico; West Indies (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico); Central America; n South America.