Plants annual or perennial; cespitose. Culms 20-200 cm, simple or branched. Leaves sometimes aromatic and smelling of lemon oil or citronella; sheaths keeled, sometimes with a row of glandular depressions on the keel; ligules membranous, glabrous or ciliate. Inflorescences terminal and axillary; peduncles usually with 1 rame, sometimes with several in a digitate cluster; rames with 3-10 homogamous, unawned, sessile-pedicellate spikelet pairs on the lower 1/4-2/3 and heterogamous, awned, sessile-pedicellate spikelet pairs distally, axes slender, without a translucent median groove; disarticulation in the rames, beneath the sessile spikelets of the heterogamous spikelet pairs, sometimes also below their pedicellate spikelets. Homogamous spikelet units sterile or staminate; calluses poorly developed; glumes membranous, many-veined, keels winged above. Heterogamous spikelet units: sessile spikelets bisexual, terete; calluses 1.5-3 mm, sharp, antrorsely strigose, hairs golden brown; glumes coriaceous, pubescent, concealing the florets; lower glumes enclosing the upper glumes, obscurely 5-9-veined; upper glumes sulcate, 3-veined; lower florets sterile, reduced to a hyaline lemma; upper florets bisexual, lemmas with conspicuous, geniculate awns; awns 5-15 cm, with hairs. Caryopses lanceolate, sulcate on 1 side. Pedicels short, free of the rame axes, not grooved; pedicellate spikelets sterile or staminate, larger than the sessile spikelets; calluses long, glabrous, functioning as pedicels; glumes membranous, many-veined, keels winged above. x = 10, 11. Name from the Greek heteros, different, and pogon, beard, alluding to the difference between the calluses of the spikelets in the heterogamous pairs.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [MG-70-19-0057-19].