Plants annual or perennial; if perennial, sometimes cespitose, sometimes rhizomatous or stoloniferous. Culms 15-300 cm, erect, sometimes decumbent. Leaves not aromatic; mostly basal; auricles absent; ligules shortly membranous and ciliolate to ciliate or of hairs; blades often rough and glaucous. Inflorescences terminal panicles with elongate rachises and numerous branches, branches often naked for a considerable distance before terminating in a rame; rames often with only a single heterogamous triplet of 1 sessile and 2 pedicellate spikelets, sometimes with 1(-3) heterogamous sessile-pedicellate spikelet pairs below the terminal triplet, internodes without a translucent median groove; disarticulation oblique, below the sessile spikelets. Sessile spikelets terete or laterally compressed; calluses usually sharp, setose, hairs white or yellow to brown; glumes leathery to stiff, involute or folded and keeled above; lower glumes rounded or laterally compressed; lower florets sterile; upper florets bisexual, unawned or awned. Pedicels slender, not fused to the rame axes, without a translucent groove. Pedicellate spikelets dorsally compressed or absent, if present, lower florets sterile and unawned, upper florets sterile or staminate, awned or unawned. x = 5 or 10. Name from the Greek chrysos, golden, and pogon, beard, an allusion to the yellow, bearded callus.