asperus (L.) = roughness, + flos (L.) = flowers. Rough flowers, referring to the acuminate bracts giving the inflorescences a bristly appearance.
WCM Protologue Reference:
(Nees) Kunth, Enum. Pl. 3: 474 (1841)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped or mat-Forming or tangled, 0.3–0.5 m tall, with rhizomes. Rhizome very short with culms aggregated at base or spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 5–7 mm in diam., culms 1.5–2 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed) or compressed, solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, olivaceous, 0.25–0.5 m tall, diameter at base 1.2–2.2 mm, diameter at apex 0.8–1.5 mm. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches absent. Sheaths more than 1 per culm, sometimes dropping off, abscission present, closely convoluted, 25–70 mm long, margins entire, light brown with scattered to dense red speckles and usually with a lighter-coloured margin, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 2–5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 21–50 spikelets or 50–100 spikelets or 101–500 spikelets, paniculate, 25–85 mm long, 10–30 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male spathellae conspicuous, 4–10 mm long. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3–5 mm, 3–4.5 mm, with 5–10 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets or longer than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 2.5–3.5 mm long, ovate, acuminate, chartaceous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body or between half and as long as the bract body. Male flower 1.7–2.7 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, cartilaginous, oblong or ovate (outer tepals are ovate and elongated, inner tepals are oblong), inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate or as other tepals, glabrous. Anthers 1–1.8 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted or linear, 25–80 mm long, 10–30 mm wide, with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, obscuring spikelet, cartilaginous. Female spathellae conspicuous, 4.5–10 mm long. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 4–5.5 mm long, with 4–6 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers or as tall as flowers, erect, 3–4 mm long, ovate (concave), acuminate, chartaceous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 2.5–3.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals chartaceous, scabrid all over, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib raised, margins ciliate (bracts and tepals lacerated), apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals or conduplicate, 2.4–2.9 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 2.4–2.9 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong or obovate, 2.4–2.9 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles white, 3. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, (2.32–)2.65(–3.2) mm long, (1.48–)1.67(–2.08) mm diam., shape in side view elliptical, shape in top view triangular in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.