Marloth, H.W.R., a chemist, who was one of South Africa's foremost natural historians. He settled in Cape Town in 1883, and was one of the first to explore the higher mountains, in the course of which he discovered many new species. His greatest impact was by thinking about plants and vegetation in a remarkably modern way, and much of his work has only recently been taken further forward.
Vegetative parts: plants 0.6-1.2 m tall, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 3.5-4.2 mm in diam., culms 6-10 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth or finely warty, olivaceous, 0.6-1.2 m tall, diameter at base 3-3.6 mm, diameter at apex 1.6-2.4 mm. Branch axil indumentum absent. 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, 40-50 mm long, margins entire, dark reddish-brown (maroon) with tan margins, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute or obtuse. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 0.5-1 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 11-20 spikelets or 21-50 spikelets or 50-100 spikelets, paniculate, 35-85 mm long, 13-16 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous (but very thick, almost bony). Male spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, elliptical or ovate or undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 5-6 mm, 3-4.5 mm, with 3-5 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts shorter than flowers, 1.5-2.2 mm long, ovate or orbicular, rounded, margins entire, coriaceous or cartilaginous (very tough), bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent. Male flower 3.8-4.2 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, bony or coriaceous, oblong or elliptical, inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1-2 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted, 30-85 mm long, 12-15 mm wide, with 11-20 spikelets or 21-50 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet, persistent, bony or cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 5.5-6.5 mm long, with 2-3 flowers, with 1 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, erect, 3.5-4.5 mm long, orbicular, rounded, bony, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, margins entire, awn minute or absent. Female flower 4-4.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals bony, glabrous and smooth, midrib raised, margins entire, apices obtuse or acute (with a rounded tip), inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 3.5-4 mm long. Female odd outer tepal elliptical (broadly elliptical), 3.5-4 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 3.5-4 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 3 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed (1.96-)2.01(-2.08) mm long, (0.64-)0.83(-0.96) mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter triangular in cross section, brown.