saxum calcareum (L.) = limestone, + cola (L.) = dweller; referring to the preference of the species to limestones.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder & C.R.Hardy, Bothalia 40: 24 (2010)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.2-0.4 m tall, basal diameter 0.1-0.3 m, crown diameter 0.3-6 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms branching, smooth, green, 0.3-0.5 m tall, diameter at base 1.5-4.5 mm, diameter at apex 0.5-1.5 mm. Sheaths loosely convoluted or flat and standing free from culm, 8-25 mm long, dark brown, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, obtuse. Sheath-mucro awl- or needleshaped, straight and erect, 4-7 mm long, mucro very distinctive, more than half the length of the sheath. Males: male inflorescence with 2-5 spikelets or 6-10 spikelets, racemose or paniculate, 15-30 mm long, 10-15 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, like the floral bracts, cartilaginous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, oblong or ovate, apex acute, 7-15 mm, 3-6 mm, with 6-25 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts taller than flowers, 3.5-6 mm long, oblong, acuminate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body. Male flower 2-3 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous, linear, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals keeled or winged, keel sparsely villous. Anthers 1.5-1.7 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence linear, 25-55 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, with 2-5 spikelets or 6-10 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical, apex acute, 8-12 mm long, with 4-10 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, 5.5-8.5 mm long, oblong, acuminate, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent or less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 3-4.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals chartaceous, keels of lateral sepals sparsely villous, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices truncate or acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 3-4.2 mm long. Female odd outer tepal linear, 3-4.2 mm long. Female inner tepals linear, 3-4.2 mm long. Staminodes present or absent (minute). Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, papery to leathery, not winged. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, 2.2-2.4 mm long, 0.8-1 mm diam., shape in side view elliptical, shape in top view round in cross section or triangular in cross section (three carpel edges raised forming ribs), tan, mode of seed release for nutted plants nut popped out of bracts. Elaiosome absent.