Pillans, Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 16: 370 (1928)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.5–0.7 m tall, basal diameter 0.1–0.2 m, crown diameter 0.3–0.4 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth, olivaceous, 0.5–0.7 m tall, diameter at base 0.8–2 mm, diameter at apex 0.7–1.8 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 15–30 mm long, green to brown at the base, paler to the apex, apical margins broadly chartaceous and soon decaying, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro absent or penicellate, straight and erect, 0–1 mm long, basal half of sheaths green, coriaceous, apical part paper and soon decaying. Males: male inflorescence with 11–20 spikelets or 21–50 spikelets, paniculate, 40–120 mm long, 30–50 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, upper margins lacerated and largely decayed at anthesis, shorter than spikelets, chartaceous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets pendulous on flexible pedicels, oblong, apex rounded, 7–17 mm, 3–5 mm, with 14–22 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts taller than flowers, 3–4.5 mm long, oblong or ovate, acute, chartaceous or cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent, dark brown coloured, almost black in colour. Male flower 2–3 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, chartaceous, petals chartaceous, oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals keeled or winged or conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1.3–1.8 mm long, included in the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence paniculate or racemose, 40–100 mm long, 15–35 mm wide, with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet, persistent, chartaceous. Female spikelet pedicel simple or pedicel sparsely branching, oblong or obovate, apex rounded, 15–30 mm long, with 6–19 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts at least twice as long as flowers, 10–17 mm long, oblong, acute, chartaceous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 3–4.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals cartilaginous, glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals keeled or winged, wings entire, wings lateral sepals decurrent, and with grooves between them, as wide as body, 3–4.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 2.4–3.3 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 2.2–2.8 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles plumose, white, 1. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, winged. Shape of winged dispersal unit oblong, narrower than long. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth (but rough, under high magnification it can be seen that the cells are individually colliculate), (1.8–)2.06(–2.48) mm long, (1.04–)1.19(–1.4) mm diam., shape in side view oblong, shape in top view elliptical in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.