nitidus (L.) = shiny, sleek, fat, in good condition. Not clear what this name refers to, possibly the shiny, rounded nuts.
WCM Protologue Reference:
(Nees ex Mast.) Pillans, Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 16: 418 (1928)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted (Tussocks often wider than tall, often forming stalks, often as cushions), 0.3-0.7 m tall, basal diameter 0.3-0.7 m, crown diameter 0.3-1 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons or with rhizomes. Rhizome very short with culms aggregated at base, 2-4 mm in diam., culms 1-5 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, distinctly hollow, smooth or finely rugulose, green or olivaceous, 0.3-0.7 m tall, diameter at base 1.3-2.2 mm, diameter at apex 1-2 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 20-60 mm long, brown, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or narrowly membranous or broadly chartaceous and soon decaying, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute or obtuse. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 4-10 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 2-5 spikelets or 6-10 spikelets or 11-20 spikelets, paniculate, 10-100 mm long, 6-25 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 obtuse or acute, 5-10 mm, 3-8 mm, with 8-20 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, terete or angular or flattened. Male bracts taller than flowers, 4-10 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, The acuminate bracts often have reflexed apices, giving the spikelets a bristly appearance. Male flower 2-2.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, cartilaginous, petals membranous, oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1-2.2 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Females: female inflorescence with 1 spikelet. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical, apex acute, 15-45 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 5-8 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect or reflexed, 13-35 mm long, ovate, acuminate, bony or coriaceous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn between half and as long as the bract body. Female flower with a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals membranous, glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, margins entire, apices rounded or obtuse, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 3-6 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or obovate, 3-6 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong or obovate, 3-6 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, as tall as nuts or persistent, membranous, shorter than nut. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, (5.17-)5.71(-6.25) mm long, (2.33-)3.04(-4.4) mm diam., shape in side view elliptical or obovate or oblong, shape in top view planoconvex in cross section, black. Elaiosome present, white, 0.8-1.1 mm long, less than half as long as nut.