cuspidatus (L.) = point, spear. Referring to the acuminate floral bracts, unusual in this genus.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Mast., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 10: 240 (1869)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.5–1.1 m tall, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed) or compressed after pressing, solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, green or olivaceous, 0.5–1.1 m tall, diameter at base 2–5 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, dropping off, with an abscission line present, loosely convoluted, 65–85 mm long, margins entire, very dark to reddish-brown with a shiny surface and light brown margins, 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, obtuse. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 2.5–5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 50–100 spikelets or 101–500 spikelets or 501 and more spikelets, paniculate, 60–250 mm long, 15–25 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male spathellae conspicuous (very), 6–12 mm long (very narrow). Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 2–2.8 mm, 0.8–1.5 mm, with 3–5 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 6.5–9 mm long, ovate or orbicular, acuminate, chartaceous or cartilaginous (quite "sturdy", i.e. they don't tear or break easily), bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn longer than the bract body. Male flower 2–2.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, cartilaginous, oblong or ovate (inner oblong and outer ovate), inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1–1.5 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted or linear, 70–250 mm long, 15–20 mm wide, with 21–50 spikelets or 51–100 spikelets or 101–500 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet, caducous, cartilaginous. Female spathellae conspicuous (with very long awns), 4.5–6 mm long. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, orbicular, apex undifferentiated, 4–5 mm long, with 4–5 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 4.5–9 mm long, oblong or ovate, rounded, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn longer than the bract body. Female flower 2–3 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals chartaceous or cartilaginous, glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib raised, margins entire, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 2.5–3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or ovate, 2.5–3 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong or ovate, 2.5–3 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, (2.48–)2.63(–3.04) mm long, (1.32–)1.63(–1.92) mm diam., shape in side view elliptical, shape in top view elliptical in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.