elephas (L.) = elephant. This species is known as "Olifantsriet" on the West Coast.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder, Bothalia 40: 12 (2010)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 1-2.5 m tall, basal diameter 1-2 m, crown diameter 1-2 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 4-10 mm in diam., culms 8-30 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, olivaceous, 1-2.5 m tall, diameter at base 4-6 mm, diameter at apex 1.4-2.5 mm. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches absent. Sheaths more than 1 per culm, dropping off, with an abscission line present, loosely convoluted, 30-60 mm long, margins entire, reddish to dark-brown with fine tan speckles and tan margins, slightly glossy, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, obtuse. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 6-10 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 101-500 spikelets or 501 and more spikelets, paniculate, 80-500 mm long, 20-30 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3.5-4 mm, 3-3.5 mm, with 3-4 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts shorter than flowers, 1.2-1.7 mm long, ovate, acute, margins entire, chartaceous or cartilaginous, bract upper margin with honeycombed cells, which eventually decay, bract awn minute or absent. Male flower 2.3-2.9 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous or cartilaginous, inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted, 80-400 mm long, 15-20 mm wide, with 51-100 spikelets or 101-500 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet or obscuring spikelet, caducous, bony. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3.2-4.2 mm long, with 4-5 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, erect, 1.5-2 mm long, orbicular (at times wider than tall), rounded or obtuse, cartilaginous (with a sturdy midrib), apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 2.2-2.8 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals bony, glabrous and smooth, midrib raised, margins entire, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 1.8-2.3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal elliptical, 1.8-2.3 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 1.8-2.3 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 3 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed 0.6-0.8 mm long, 0.3-0.5 mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter round in cross section or rectangular in cross section, brown.