Het voor ons land nieuwe geslacht Brachiaria behoort tot de Gramineeën-Tribus Paniceae en werd vroeger als een afdeling van het geslacht Panicum beschouwd. In The Grasses of Mauritius and Rodriguez by C. E. Hubbard and R. E. Vaughan (1940) p. 24 voeren de volgende eigenschappen tot het geslacht: “Spikelets not subtended by bristles. Upper glume and lower lemma usually entire at their tips. Lower glume awnless, spikelets circular in transverse section or often dorsally compressed. Upper floret alone fertile, the lower male or barren, its lemma resembling the upper glume and usually not hardened. Spikelets arranged in one-sided spikes or spike-like racemes, not subtended by bristles. Lemma of the upper floret more or less coriaceous with narrow inrolled margins, exposing much of the palea. Lower glume usually well developed; lower floret ♂ or barren. Upper glume acute or obtuse, smooth or hairy. Axes of racemes terminating in a spikelet. Lower glume adjacent to the axis on which the spikelet is borne; upper lemma often obtuse and rarely mucronate Brachiaria.” De beschrijving van het geslacht luidt dan l.c. p. 75: “Spikelets oblong to lanceolate, ovate or elliptic, awnless, terete or more or less dorsally compressed and then flattened in front, solitary, paired or clustered, falling entire at maturity, short-pedicelled or al most sessile along one side of the 3-angled or flattened axes of spikelike racemes; florets 2, dissimilar, the lower ♂ or arren and with a palea, the upper ♂; glumes membranous, equal or more often unequal, the lower smaller and adjacent to the axis on which the spikelet is borne; the upper as long as the spikelet and similar to the lower lemma; upper lemma obtuse, apiculate or mucronate, crustaceous or coriaceous, with narrowly involute margins embracing the indurated palea. Perennials or annuals, with loosely to densely spiculate racemes.”