Plants annual or perennial; cespitose or shortly rhizomatous. Culms 30-200 cm, unbranched; internodes semi-solid. Leaves cauline, not aromatic; sheaths shorter than the internodes, rounded; ligules membranous; blades flat to involute. Inflorescences terminal, solitary racemes of heterogamous subsessile-pedicellate spikelets pairs (rarely of 2 digitate spikelike branches), axes slender, without a translucent median groove; disarticulation beneath the pedicellate spikelets. Subsessile spikelets staminate or sterile, without a callus and unawned, otherwise similar to the pedicellate spikelets. Pedicels slender, not fused to the rames axes. Pedicellate spikelets bisexual; calluses sharp, strigose; glumes firm, enclosing the florets; lower glumes several-veined, encircling the upper glumes; upper glumes 3-veined; lower florets sterile; upper florets bisexual, lemmas firm but hyaline at the base, tapering to an awn; awns (4)6-15 cm, twisted, pubescent to plumose; paleas absent; anthers 3. x = 10. Name from the Greek trachys, rough, and pogon, beard, referring to the plumose awn of the bisexual florets.