persistens (L.) = to persist, remain constant. Referring to the resprouting habit of the plants, allowing them to survive the frequent devastating fires.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder, Kew Bull. 56: 473 (2001)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped, 1-1.5 m tall, basal diameter 2-5 m, crown diameter 2-5 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 8-12 mm in diam., culms 2-10 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed) or compressed after pressing, solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, green, 1-1.5 m tall, diameter at base 4.5-5.5 mm, diameter at apex 3-5 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 20-40 mm long, margins ciliate, culm coloured in the lower 2/3, upper 1/3 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, obtuse or rounded. Sheath-mucro absent. Males: male inflorescence with 21-50 spikelets or 50-100 spikelets, paniculate, 70-110 mm long, 20-40 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous, Shiny golden-brown spathes, tightly wrapped around the buds. Male flowers in spikelets or not aggregated into spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, ovate or undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 7-12 mm, 5-7 mm, with 10-30 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 8-12 mm long, linear, acute, membranous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent, pale straw-coloured. Male flower 5-7 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 1-2 mm long, included in the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence linear, 40-110 mm long, 5-30 mm wide, with 2-5 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, obovate, apex truncate or rounded, 16-40 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 8-14 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 15-35 mm long, linear or ovate, acuminate, chartaceous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as 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 (apiculate), inner whorl shorter than outer. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 2-4 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or ovate, 2-4 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 1-3 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 (slightly rough above), wall smooth, 8.5-10 mm long, 7-8.2 mm diam., shape in side view oblong, shape in top view round in cross section, brown or black, mode of seed release for nutted plants nut popped out of bracts. Elaiosome absent.