Plants annual or perennial. Culms annual, (1)6–200 cm, herbaceous or woody, not aerenchymatous, sometimes branched above the base. Sheaths open, usually rounded on the back, glabrous or not, sometimes scabrous; collars frequently with tuberculate hairs; auricles usually present, often ciliate; ligules usually membranous, sometimes merely a membranous rim or of hairs; pseudopetioles not present; blades linear, venation parallel, cross venation not evident, abaxial surfaces with microhairs and variously shaped silica bodies, cross sections non-Kranz; first seedling leaves with well-developed, erect blades. Inflorescences terminal, panicles or unilateral racemes; disarticulation above the glumes, florets falling as a cluster. Spikelets solitary, terete or laterally compressed, with 3 florets, lower 2 florets sterile, terminal floret bisexual, at least the upper sterile floret as long as or longer than the bisexual floret; rachillas sometimes shortly prolonged beyond the base of the bisexual floret. Glumes 2, from 1/2 as long as to exceeding the florets, veins (3)5–7; sterile florets: lemmas coriaceous, 5–7-veined, awned or unawned; paleas lacking; bisexual florets: lemmas lanceolate or rectangular, firmly cartilaginous to coriaceous, 5–7-veined, veins inconspicuous, apices entire, unawned; paleas 0–2(5)-veined; lodicules 2, free; anthers 1–6; styles 2, fused or free to the base, stigmas linear, plumose. Caryopses ellipsoid; hila linear, at least 1/2 as long as the caryopses; embryos up to 1/3 the length of the caryopses, waisted, without an epiblast, with a scutellar tail, and with a minute mesocotyl internode. x = 12.
The number of genera recognized in the tribe varies from one to four (Willemse 1982; Edgar and Connor 2000; Wheeler et al. 2002). The largest genus, Ehrharta, is native to Africa, the other three being Australasian. Only one genus, Ehrharta, has been found in the Flora region.
Edgar, E. and H.E. Connor. 2000. Flora of New Zealand, vol. 5. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand. 650 pp.
Wheeler, D.J.B., S.W.L. Jacobs, and R.D.B. Whalley. 2002. Grasses of New South Wales, ed. 3. University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.
Willemse, L.P.M. 1982. A discussion of the Ehrharteae (Gramineae) with special reference to the Malesian taxa formerly included in Microlaena. Blumea 28:181–194.