(Thunb.) Pillans, Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 16: 415 (1928)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped or forming long lines of culms, 0.5-1.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.2-2 m, crown diameter 0.5-2 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 3.5-10 mm in diam., culms 5-15 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth or finely rugulose, olivaceous, 0.5-1 m tall, diameter at base 1-2 mm, diameter at apex 0.7-1.2 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 15-45 mm long, brown, striate, eventually turning grey, apical margins narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 1-4 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 11-20 spikelets or 21-50 spikelets or 50-100 spikelets, paniculate, 20-60 mm long, 10-20 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, chartaceous or cartilaginous, Enclosing the buds, but soon dropping exposing the spikelets. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, ovate or orbicular, apex rounded or obtuse, 3-6 mm, 2-4 mm, with 10-40 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 2-3.5 mm long, ovate, acuminate, chartaceous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn minute or absent, marginally taller than the flowers, with a distinctive acuminate pale apex. Male flower 1.5-2 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity or sepals more rigid than petals, chartaceous, petals chartaceous, oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1.4-1.7 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence linear, 20-60 mm long, 7-15 mm wide, with 2-5 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet, persistent, coriaceous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical, apex acute, 10-20 mm long, with 1-2 flowers, with 5-8 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 8-15 mm long, ovate, acute, bony, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. 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, margins entire, apices variable or truncate or rounded or obtuse, inner and outer whorls the same length or inner whorl shorter than outer. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, 1-2 mm long. Female odd outer tepal broad-based, with small, variable lobe, 1-2 mm long. Female inner tepals broad-based, with small, variable lobe, 1-2 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, 6.3-8.5 mm long, 3.3-4 mm diam., shape in side view elliptical or ovate or oblong, shape in top view planoconvex in cross section, brown or black, mode of seed release for nutted plants nut popped out of bracts. Elaiosome present, white, 1-1.8 mm long, less than half as long as nut.