Plants annuals or short-lived perennials. Culms (20)40-150 cm, decumbent, usually rooting at the lower nodes; nodespubescent; internodes glabrous or with papillose-based hairs, hairs to 4.7 mm. Sheaths glabrous or with papillose-based hairs, hairs 0.5-4.7 mm; ligules of hairs, 0.7-2.2 mm; blades 3.6-27 cm long, 2-9(14) mm wide, flat, glabrous or pubescent, with or without papillose-based hairs. Panicles (4)6-22 cm long, (1.5)2.5-12 cm wide; primary branches to 11 cm, ends of the primary branches, secondary branches, and pedicels capillary; pedicels 0.6-5.3 mm, usually hairy distally, hairs to 6.3 mm. Spikelets 2-5.7 mm; calluses hairy, hairs to 4 mm. Lower glumes 0-1.7 mm, pubescent, sometimes with papillose-based hairs, apices rounded, truncate, or slightly cleft; upper glumes (1.9)2.3-4.9 mm, enclosing the upper florets, gibbous basally, densely pubescent, hairs to 7 mm, sometimes papillose-based, varying from white to rose or darkish purple, apices tapering, beaked, glabrous, unawned or awned, awns to 4.1 mm; lower florets staminate or sterile; lower lemmas 1.9-4.8 mm, unawned or with awns to 4.2 mm; lower paleas 0.9-4 mm; anthers (0.8)1.5-2.6 mm, orange-brown to orange; upper lemmas 1.8-2.7 mm, glabrous; anthers 3, 1.2-1.7 mm, orange-brown to orange. Caryopses 1.3-1.9 mm long, 0.6-0.9 mm wide. 2n = 36.
Melinis repens is probably native to Africa and western Asia. It is now established throughout the subtropics, including the southern portion of the Flora region. It has been grown as an ornamental, but it is now established and often weedy in warmer portions of the region.
Plants in the Flora region belong to Melinis repens (Willd.) Zizka subsp. repens, one of four weakly-separated subspecies.