Vegetative parts: plants tufted or tangled or several much-Branched culms from base (forming short rhizomes and culms ascending from these rhizomes, resulting in an open plant), 0.4–1 m tall, basal diameter 0.1 m, crown diameter 0.3–1 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons or with rhizomes. Rhizome very short with culms aggregated at base, 5–7 mm in diam., culms 0–8 mm apart. Fertile culms branching, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth, green or olivaceous, 0.35–0.5 m tall, diameter at base 2.2–5 mm, diameter at apex 1–2 mm. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches absent. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, loosely convoluted or flat and standing free from culm, 15–30 mm long, margins entire, reddish to dark brown, slightly lighter-coloured margin, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate or obtuse. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 1.5–2 mm long, persisting as brittle, ovate, spreading structures.
Males: male inflorescence with 21–50 spikelets, paniculate, 40–50 mm long, 8–10 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, taller than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male spathellae conspicuous (but small compared with other Elegia species where spathellae are a prominent feature), 2–2.5 mm long. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 5.5–8 mm, 2–3.5 mm, with 5–10 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts shorter than flowers, 1–1.7 mm long, ovate, acute, chartaceous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body or like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body. Male flower 4–5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, cartilaginous, elliptical or ovate, inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals as other tepals, glabrous. Anthers 1.8–2.4 mm long, included in the flowers.
Females: female inflorescence interrupted, 35–60 mm long, 10–15 mm wide, with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets, obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spathellae conspicuous (??). Female spikelet sessile, undifferentiated (each spikelet consists of one flower so this aspect does not really apply in this case), apex undifferentiated (each spikelet consists of one flower so this aspect does not really apply in this case), 6–8 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts as tall as flowers or taller than flowers, erect, 6–8 mm long, oblong or ovate, obtuse, chartaceous (fairly strong), apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 3.5–5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals bony or cartilaginous (inner and outer tepals are very different in texture - the inner ones are bony - hard and thick - while the outer ones are much thinner), glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, margins entire, apices obtuse or acute, inner whorl shorter than outer (slightly). Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 2.8–4.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or elliptical, 2.5–3.8 mm long. Female inner tepals orbicular, 2.9–3.5 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles white, 3. Style bases seated on a stylopodium. 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, (2.6–)2.74(–2.88) mm long, (1.52–)1.69(–1.92) mm diam., shape in side view obovate, shape in top view round in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.
Distribution in Western Cape; the Cape Floristic Region Bredasdorp Plains; Restricted to the coastal platform from the Soetanysberg in the west to the Gouritzriver in east - an identical distribution to that of Thamnochortus insignis. Occurrence in Provincial Conservation Areas or National Parks in the Western Cape De Hoop.
Altitude 10–200 m. Rockiness of habitat no rocks. Bedrock: Table Mountain Shale, or Limestone, or Acid coastal sand (difficult to establish the exact bedrock association, but the species is no strictly associated with limestone). Groundwater availability well-drained soils. Vegetation type fynbos. Quite common on the sandplains of the Riversdale - Albertinia plains, in well-drained habitats. A weak association with limestones, but more frequently found in the loamier sands associated with dune hollows. Seed dispersal mode undifferentiated.