Plants hermaphroditic, caespitose or rhizomatous or stoloniferous, perennial (behaving as annual in Texas).
Culms ascending or geniculate, pubescent; internodes hollow, terete. Leaves cauline, not distinctly distichous;
sheaths terete, margins connate (one half length); auricles absent; ligules a ciliate membrane; blades flat
(soft), lax (hairy). Panicles narrow or contracted (dense), primary branches ascending.
Spikelets solitary, laterally compressed; disarticulation below glumes; awned, subsessile; florets
2, reduced floret at apex (staminate), callus glabrous, rachilla not extended beyond upper floret; glumes
2, first 1-veined (narrow), second 3-veined (broader), nearly equal, equal to spikelet length, hairy,
mucronate; lemmas 3-5-veined, coriaceous, glabrous, apex obtuse, upper lemma with short hooked awn, awn glabrous, veins glabrous; paleas 2-veined, awnless, glabrous. Stamens 3; anthers yellow to pale yellow. Caryopses adhering to lemma and palea, laterally compressed. Base chromosome number x=(4)7.
A genus of about six species native to Europe. The species frequently occur around ditches, springs, or
wet meadows. Species are either shade species or of open habitats. In some areas they are disturbance species.
Velvet-grass (H. lanatus) can be an important pasture species.