villosus (L.) = referring the remarkably densely villous bracts and flowers.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder & C.R.Hardy, Bothalia 40: 22 (2010)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.2-0.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.01-0.05 m, crown diameter 0.1-0.3 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched or sparingly branched, finely rugulose or finely warty or roughly warty, olivaceous, 0.2-0.5 m tall, diameter at base 0.3-0.5 mm, diameter at apex 0.2-0.4 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 7-20 mm long, reddish-brown with sparse yellow speckles, apical margins broadly membranous (about half of sheath length), hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate or acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 2-5 mm long, the broad upper membranous margin is dissected by the coriaceous midvein, which terminates in the slender awn. Note that the margins are fused to the awn, thus not forming membranous shoulders. Males: male inflorescence with 1 spikelet or 2-5 spikelets (never more than 2), racemose, 12-20 mm long, 4-7 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, like the floral bracts, coriaceous, but somewhat larger than bracts, and similar to sheaths with upper half membranous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, oblong, apex acute, 10-15 mm, 4-6 mm, with 3-10 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts taller than flowers, 5-9 mm long, oblong, acute, lax or imbricate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body (almost half bract length), bract awn minute or absent, caducuous, soon dropping and exposing the flowers and the zig-zag spikelet axis, very similar to spathes and sheaths. Male flower 2.5-3.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, cartilaginous, petals membranous, linear or oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1.5-1.8 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode present. Females: female inflorescence with 1 spikelet. Female spathes like floral bracts, persistent, coriaceous (with upper half membranous, like sheaths). Female spikelet sessile, oblong or obovate or obtriangular, apex rounded, 10-18 mm long, with 5-10 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, 6.5-12 mm long, oblong, acuminate, cartilaginous, apical margin membranous (almost 1/3 of the bract), paler than body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 4.5-6 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals cartilaginous (lower 2/3) or membranous (apical 1/3), both lateral sepal keels and odd sepal villous (but only in the lower half of the tepals, with a white wool), at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices rounded or obtuse, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 4.5-5.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong (but distinctly spathulate, with the sepals abruptly narrowed just above the base of the flower), 4.5-5.5 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 4-5.5 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall.