Plants annual or perennial. Culms 10-100 cm, weak, trailing on the ground, branching. Leaves cauline; ligules membranous and ciliate, or of hairs; blades lanceolate. Inflorescences terminal, panicles of unilateral branches, spikelets paired (but the first spikelet sometimes reduced), rachises and branches terminating in a spikelet; branches 0.1-7 cm, persistent; disarticulation below the glumes. Spikelets dorsally compressed, not sunken into the rachis, lacking subtending bristles, with 2 florets. Lower glumes awned; upper glumes not ciliate on the margins, unawned or with awns shorter than those of the lower glumes, awns of both glumes often becoming viscid; lower florets sterile or staminate; lower lemmas acute to shortly awned; lower paleas present or absent; upper florets bisexual; upper lemmas papery to leathery, glabrous, smooth, unawned, white or yellow at maturity; upper paleas similar to the upper lemmas. x = 9. Name from the Greek hoplismenos, armed, alluding to the awned spikelets.