grandis (L.) = large, + spicatus = spikelets. Referring to the large inflorescences of this species.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder, Bothalia 15: 424 (1985)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted (Tufts often raised on columns of interwoven culms, usually killed by fire but occasionally surviving like tree-ferns), 0.7–1.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.1–0.4 m, crown diameter 0.3–1 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons or with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 3–5 mm in diam., culms 7–10 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, green or olivaceous, 0.6–0.8 m tall, diameter at base 1.5–4.5 mm, diameter at apex 1–2.5 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, 50–90 mm long, margins entire, tan/light-brown base colour with brown speckles and tan margins, sometimes the lower portion of the sheaths is greyish or dull green, while the upper part is tan and brown, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3 or 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, 0.5–2.5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 21–50 spikelets or 50–100 spikelets or 101–500 spikelets or 501 and more spikelets, paniculate, 30–130 mm long, 10–30 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male spathellae conspicuous, 6–15 mm long. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 2.5–3.5 mm, 1.5–2.5 mm, with 4–5 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 2.2–4 mm long, ovate, acuminate, chartaceous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body. Male flower 2.5–3 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, cartilaginous, oblong or ovate (outers are ovate and innerr oblong), inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1.2–1.5 mm long, included in the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted or linear, 45–120 mm long, 15–35 mm wide, with 21–50 spikelets or 51–100 spikelets or 101–500 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous (rather thick and sturdy). Female spathellae conspicuous (both narrowly and brooadly ovate spathellae are present), 8–20 mm long. Female spikelet pedicel simple, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 4.5–5.5 mm long, with 3–5 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 4.5–6.5 mm long, ovate, acuminate, coriaceous or cartilaginous (quite thick and sturdy), apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 2.5–4 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 and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 2.5–4 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or elliptical (most commonly oblong), 2.5–4 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 2.5–4 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 or wall tuberculate, (2.48–)2.79(–3.2) mm long, (1–)1.32(–1.6) mm diam., shape in side view ovate, shape in top view triangular in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.