tenuis (L.) = slender + spicatus (L.) = spike, referring to the slender spikelets.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder & C.R.Hardy, Bothalia 40: 24 (2010)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.2-0.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.01-0.1 m, crown diameter 0.05-0.15 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms sparingly branched, smooth or finely rugulose, green or olivaceous, 0.2-0.5 m tall, diameter at base 0.5-0.7 mm, diameter at apex 0.4-0.6 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 9-16 mm long, initially green, turning speckled brown, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent or membranous margins continuing behind awn, hyaline shoulder 0.01 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute or rounded. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 1.5-6 mm long, When young the sheaths are rounded behind the mucro. Males: male inflorescence with 2-5 spikelets or 6-10 spikelets, racemose or paniculate, 15-40 mm long, 10-25 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, like the floral bracts, chartaceous, Very similar to the floral bracts. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, oblong or elliptical, apex acute, 8-12 mm, 2.5-3.5 mm, with 10-20 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts taller than flowers, 3.5-4.5 mm long, oblong, truncate or obtuse or aciculate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn between half and as long as the bract body, almost truncate with a long aciculate awn. Male flower 2 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous, linear or oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, keel sparsely villous. Anthers 1-1.5 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence interrupted or linear, 8-50 mm long, 4-10 mm wide, with 2-5 spikelets or 6-10 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical, apex acute, 5-10 mm long, with 5-8 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, 4-5 mm long, ovate, acuminate, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn less than half as long as the bract body or between half and as long as the bract body. Female flower 2-2.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals chartaceous, scabrid all over or keels of lateral sepals sparsely villous, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices truncate or rounded, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 2-2.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 1.5-2 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 1.5-2 mm long. Staminodes absent (faintly visible under x50). 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, membranous, as tall as nuts. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, mode of seed release for nutted plants unknown. Elaiosome absent.