caespitosus (L.) = tufted. Referring to the tufted growthform.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Esterh., Bothalia 15: 421 (1985)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.3–0.65 m tall, basal diameter 0.1–0.2 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, compressed, solid or with a small central cavity, smooth or finely rugulose, green or olivaceous, 0.3–0.6 m tall, diameter at base 1–2 mm, diameter at apex 1–2 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, 30–60 mm long, margins entire, yellowish to brown with fine and dense red mottling, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 3–8 mm long, best described as "subpersistent". Males: male inflorescence with 11–20 spikelets or 21–50 spikelets or 50–100 spikelets, paniculate, 25–65 mm long, 10–30 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, taller than spikelets, chartaceous or cartilaginous. Male spathellae conspicuous, 9–12 mm long (there are two kinds of spathellae of different shape - narrow oblong and wider elliptical ones). Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3–6 mm, 1.5–2.5 mm, with 3–6 flowers, pedicels as long as the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 3–6 mm long, ovate, acuminate, chartaceous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body, the bracts are conspicuous, tall and slender, overtopping the flowers. Male flower 1.2–1.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous, oblong or ovate, inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals as other tepals, glabrous or keel sparsely villous. Anthers 0.8–1.2 mm long, included in the flowers. Pistillode present (minute). Females: female inflorescence interrupted or linear, 30–70 mm long, 10–30 mm wide, with 6–10 spikelets or 11–20 spikelets or 21–50 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet or obscuring spikelet, persistent, chartaceous. Female spathellae conspicuous, 0.8–1.4 mm long. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, undifferentiated, apex obtuse, 3–5 mm long, with 1–4 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect or reflexed, 4–7 mm long, ovate, acuminate, chartaceous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn between half and as long as the bract body or longer than the bract body. Female flower 1.5–2 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals chartaceous, glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib raised, margins ciliate (bracts entire, tepals somewhat lacerated), apices obtuse or acute, inner and outer whorls the same length (although the outer tepals are often slightly shorter than the inner ones). Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 1.5–2 mm long. Female odd outer tepal ovate, 1.5–2 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 1.5–2 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, papery to leathery, not winged. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, (1.52–)1.83(–2.16) mm long, (0.96–)1.15(–1.36) mm diam., shape in side view ovate, shape in top view triangular in cross section, black, mode of seed release for nutted plants unknown. Elaiosome absent.