xeros (G.) = dry, + philo (G.) = loving, fond of. Referring to this species' preference for dry habitats.
WCM Protologue Reference:
(Pillans) H.P.Linder, Bothalia 15: 480 (1985)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped or mat-Forming, 0.3-1 m tall, basal diameter 1-3 m, crown diameter 1-3 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 5-8 mm in diam., culms 1-20 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, green, 0.3-1 m tall, diameter at base 2-4 mm, diameter at apex 1.5-3 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 20-40 mm long, margins ciliate, culm-coloured and brown below, upper third chartaceous, 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, acute or obtuse. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 2-6 mm long, striated, lower portions coloured as culm, upper 1/3 brown. Males: male inflorescence with 11-20 spikelets or 21-50 spikelets, paniculate, 35-75 mm long, 8-15 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous, red-brown and slightly brittle. Male flowers in spikelets or not aggregated into spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 5-15 mm, 4-8 mm, with 15-25 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile or shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 6-8 mm long, linear, acute or acuminate, membranous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent, pale straw-coloured. Male flower 3-5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, membranous, linear, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals as other tepals, glabrous. Anthers 1.5-2.5 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence globose or linear, 30-60 mm long, 15-30 mm wide, with 2-5 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet or obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, oblong or obovate, apex truncate or rounded, 10-18 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 6-9 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 10-15 mm long, ovate, acuminate, chartaceous or cartilaginous, apical margin membranous or like rest of bract, same as body of bract, margins entire, awn minute or absent. Female flower 1-3 mm long, with 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 truncate or rounded, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 1-3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal square, 1-3 mm long. Female inner tepals square, 1-3 mm long. Styles plumose, 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, (6.5-)6.93(-7.58) mm long, (3.8-)4.99(-6) mm diam., shape in side view oblong, shape in top view round in cross section, black. Elaiosome present, 1-2.5 mm long, less than half as long as nut.