caespitosus (L.) = turf, botanically meaning tufted. In reference to the tufted growthform of this species, contrasting to the spreading stolons of its relatives.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder, Kew Bull. 56: 472 (2001)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.6-1.2 m tall, basal diameter 0.1-0.5 m, crown diameter 0.3-1.2 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed) or compressed after pressing, solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, green, 0.6-1.2 m tall, diameter at base 3-5 mm, diameter at apex 2.5-5 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 25-40 mm long, margins ciliate, top 1/3 brown, bottom third culm-coloured to brown., upper 1/3 in colour and texture abruptly different from the base, and soon decaying, apical margins narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, rounded. Sheath-mucro absent. Males: male inflorescence with 11-20 spikelets or 21-50 spikelets, paniculate, 50-90 mm long, 15-35 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous, pale brown. Male flowers in spikelets or not aggregated into spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 8-15 mm, 5-7 mm, with 15-40 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile or shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 4-10 mm long, linear, acute, membranous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent, straw-coloured. Male flower 4-5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, membranous, linear, inner tepals shorter than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals as other tepals, glabrous. Anthers 1.5-2 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence linear, 50-90 mm long, 9-20 mm wide, with 2-5 spikelets (one in each of the 3-5 spathe axes). Female spathes longer than the spikelets, obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, obovate, apex truncate or rounded, 15-30 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 6-12 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 15-30 mm long, linear or oblong, acuminate, chartaceous, apical margin membranous or like rest of bract, paler than body of bract, margins entire, awn minute or absent. Female flower 2-4 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals membranous, glabrous and smooth, smaller than nut and not obscuring the nut surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, margins entire, apices rounded or obtuse or acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 2-4 mm long. Female odd outer tepal square or ovate, 2-4 mm long. Female inner tepals square or ovate, 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 cap with several rows of ridges, wall smooth, 7-9 mm long, 4-5.5 mm diam., shape in side view oblong, shape in top view round in cross section, brown or black. Elaiosome absent.