aristatus (L.) = hair. Referring to the acuminate bracts on the female spikelets.
WCM Protologue Reference:
(Thunb.) C.Krauss, Flora 28: 338 (1845)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.3–1.2 m tall, basal diameter 0.3–2 m, crown diameter 0.3–2 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons or with rhizomes. Rhizome very short with culms aggregated at base or spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 10–15 mm in diam., culms 1–10 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth, green or speckled golden, 0.3–1.2 m tall, diameter at base 1–2 mm, diameter at apex 0.5–2 mm. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted or loosely convoluted, 20–40 mm long, dark brown with tan/ yellow speckles; tan/ yellow margins, varying in width and darkness, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body (like rest of body, but would have said cartilaginous not coriaceous), hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro absent or penicellate, straight and erect, 1–8 mm long, closely convoluted in their lower parts, can be loose in their upper parts. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets or 11–20 spikelets, racemose or paniculate, 10–120 mm long, 10–30 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, shorter than spikelets or as tall as spikelets or taller than spikelets, cartilaginous, darkbrown, often with a broad golden margin. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, ovate or orbicular, apex rounded or obtuse, 10–20 mm, 5–10 mm, with 30–40 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile or shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts taller than flowers, 8–12 mm long, oblong or ovate, acuminate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body or between half and as long as the bract body, minutely rugulose, purple-brown; long acuminate apices often reflexed. Male flower 5–8 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 conduplicate, glabrous or keel sparsely villous. Anthers 2–4 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence linear or racemose, 10–95 mm long, 4–25 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets or longer than the spikelets, not obscuring spikelet or obscuring spikelet, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spikelet sessile, oblong, apex rounded or obtuse or acute, 10–30 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 25–40 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect or reflexed, 10–25 mm long, oblong or ovate, acuminate, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn between half and as long as the bract body or longer than the bract body. Female flower 6–14 mm long, with a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals chartaceous, glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute or acuminate, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, 8–14 mm long. Female odd outer tepal linear or oblong, 8–14 mm long. Female inner tepals linear or oblong, 8–14 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles plumose, red, 2. Style bases fused to form a pillar. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a hard woody ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, membranous, as tall as nuts. Nut cap smooth, wall smooth, 7.5–11 mm long, 3.7–7.5 mm diam., shape in side view oblong, shape in top view round in cross section, black. Elaiosome present, olivacous, 2–3.5 mm long, more than 0.5 nutlength or less than half as long as nut.