Pillans, Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 29: 353 (1942)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.3–0.6 m tall, basal diameter 0.05–0.15 m, crown diameter 0.1–0.3 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth or finely rugulose, olivaceous or speckled golden, 0.3–0.6 m tall, diameter at base 0.2–0.5 mm, diameter at apex 0.2–0.4 mm. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 10–30 mm long, green eventually turning red-brown, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent or membranous margins continuing behind awn, hyaline shoulder 0.2 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute or obtuse or rounded. Sheath-mucro absent or penicellate, straight and erect, 3–5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets (rarely 6), racemose, 15–40 mm long, 7–15 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, as tall as spikelets or taller than spikelets, cartilaginous, brown, or red-brown with distinct pale margins; usually obovate. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, oblong or elliptical or obovate, apex rounded or obtuse or acute, 7–12 mm, 4–6 mm, with 15–25 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts taller than flowers, 4–8 mm long, oblong, acuminate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body, Upper margins membranous, but same distinct rufus-colour of bract body. Male flower 5–6.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous or cartilaginous, linear or oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals keeled or winged, glabrous. Anthers 2–4 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence linear or racemose, 10–45 mm long, 5–9 mm wide, with 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes as long as the spikelets or longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical or ovate, apex rounded or obtuse or acute, 5–8 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 4–6 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 5–8 mm long, oblong, acuminate, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract or darker than body of bract, awn minute or absent or less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 2.5–3.3 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals membranous, glabrous and smooth, smaller than nut and not obscuring the nut surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, 0.5–2.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal linear, 0.5–2.5 mm long. Female inner tepals linear, 0.5–2.5 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles plumose, red, 2. Style bases fused to form a pillar (only at very base). Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a hard woody ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, membranous, shorter than nut. Nut cap with several rows of ridges, wall tuberculate (the large tubercles of the wall grading into the teeth on the cap), (2.04–)2.21(–2.36) mm long, (1.8–)1.92(–2.04) mm diam., shape in side view elliptical, shape in top view round in cross section, grey. Elaiosome absent (there is a quaint purplish stalk between the nut and the perianth, but this is hard, and so is not an elaiosome).