aristate (L.) = hair. Might refer to the long acuminate bracts.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Mast., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 29(66): 19 (1901)
Vegetative parts: plants mat-Forming or forming long lines of culms, 0.3-0.8 m tall, basal diameter 0.3-2 m, crown diameter 0.3-2 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome long and slender, culms isolated and widely spaced, 4-8 mm in diam., culms 1-20 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth or finely rugulose, green or speckled golden, 0.3-0.7 m tall, diameter at base 1-2 mm, diameter at apex 1-1.6 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 30-50 mm long, margins entire or ciliate, brown or grey in age., apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or broadly chartaceous and soon decaying, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate or acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 3-10 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 21-50 spikelets, paniculate, 30-60 mm long, 10-18 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, ovate or orbicular, apex rounded or acute, 3-5 mm, 2.5-3.3 mm, with 10-20 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts as tall as flowers or taller than flowers, 2.5-3 mm long, ovate, acuminate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body or between half and as long as the bract body, copper-coloured and shiny. Male flower 1.5-2 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, chartaceous, petals membranous, oblong (or obovate), inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1-1.5 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence with 1 spikelet. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, persistent, chartaceous or membranous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, oblong or elliptical, apex acute, 20-30 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 4-6 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, 20-30 mm long, ovate, acuminate, coriaceous or cartilaginous, apical margin membranous, same as body of bract, awn between half and as long as the bract body. Female flower with a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals membranous, glabrous and smooth, smaller than nut and not obscuring the nut surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices rounded or obtuse, inner whorl longer than outer or inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, 1.6-2.3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or square, 1.6-2.3 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong or square, 1.8-2.4 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles plumose, white, 2. Style bases free. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a hard woody ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, membranous, shorter than nut. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, (7.5-)8.19(-9) mm long, (3.17-)3.71(-4.17) mm diam., shape in side view obovate or oblong, shape in top view planoconvex in cross section, black. Elaiosome present, white, 1-2 mm long, more than 0.5 nutlength to less than half as long as nut.