Plants perennial; cespitose, sometimes stoloniferous. Culms 10-110 cm. Sheaths usually open, sometimes closed for most of their length; ligules membranous, acute or truncate; blades flat or folded, adaxial surfaces unribbed, with a furrow on either side of the midveins, margins sclerenchymatous. Inflorescences reduced panicles, many branches (all branches in depauperate specimens) bearing a single spikelet. Spikelets with 2-7 florets; rachillas glabrous on the side adjacent to the paleas, pubescent elsewhere; disarticulation above the glumes and beneath the florets. Glumes as long as or longer than the adjacent lemmas, 1-3-veined; calluses acute; lemmas 5-7-veined, obtuse, bifid, awned from about midlength, awns geniculate, flattened or terete and twisted below the bend; paleas with lateral wings less than 1/2 as wide as the intercostal region, apices shallowly bifid; lodicules 2, entire, unlobed; anthers 3. Caryopses more than twice as long as the hila; endosperm liquid or semi-liquid. x = 7. Name a diminutive of Avena.