(Burm.f.) Schelpe, J. S. African Bot. 33: 156 (1967)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped, 1–3 m tall, basal diameter 0.5–10 m, crown diameter 0.5–10 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 10–15 mm in diam., culms 15–25 mm apart. Fertile culms branching or branches whorled at each node, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth or striate, green or olivaceous, 1–3 m tall, diameter at base 4–6 mm, diameter at apex 2–2.5 mm. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches present. Sterile branches present post flowering. Sheaths more than 1 per culm, dropping off, with an abscission line present, flat and standing free from culm, 35–80 mm long, margins entire, pale to dark brown with a distinct tan margin, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders tall, acute, hyaline shoulder 2.5–3.5 of sheath body length (mm), apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 4–7 mm long, Note that the previeous character states refer to the large sheaths on the main culm which are subtending the clusters of sterile branches (which in turn have a number of much smaller sheaths). Sterile branch leaf-sheath 5–13 mm long, hyaline shoulder 0.5–1.5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 501 and more spikelets, Paniculate, 80–380 mm long, 15–100 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous (rather thick,almost 'bony'). Male spathellae conspicuous (though rather small compared with other Eligia species), 0.5–1 mm long. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3–5 mm, 2.5–3.5 mm, with 4–10 flowers, pedicels as long as the spikelets or longer than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts shorter than flowers, 0.5–0.9 mm long, ovate, rounded or acute, chartaceous or membranous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn minute or absent, They are very thin and fragile, but easily noticeable under higher magnification and can also be dicerned with the naked eye. Male flower 3.5–5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, cartilaginous (quite pliable and seem somewhat sticky), elliptical (fairly rounded, not narrowly elliptical), inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals keeled or winged or conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1–1.5 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted, 60–350 mm long, 15–45 mm wide, with 51–100 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet, caducous, cartilaginous (quite thick and hard). Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3–5 mm long, with 25–30 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, erect, 0.8–1.5 mm long, ovate, rounded or obtuse or acute, chartaceous or membranous, apical margin membranous, paler than body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 2–2.7 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals cartilaginous, glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib raised, margins entire, apices rounded or obtuse or acute (inner tepals have a more rounded or obtuse shape while outer ones tend to have an acute apex), inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals or conduplicate, 1.6–2.3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal elliptical or ovate (quite narrowly ovate), 1.6–2.3 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 1.6–2.7 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 or wall tuberculate, (0.88–)1.72(–2.28) mm long, (0.44–)0.54(–0.64) mm diam., shape in side view elliptical, shape in top view triangular in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.