Vegetative parts: plants clumped, 0.2–0.6 m tall, basal diameter 0.05–1 m, crown diameter 0.05–1 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons or with rhizomes. Rhizome very short with culms aggregated at base, 5–15 mm in diam., culms 1–5 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, striate, green or speckled golden, 0.2–0.6 m tall, diameter at base 0.2–1 mm, diameter at apex 0.2–0.5 mm. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 7–15 mm long, green, brown, red-brown or grey; with or without pale margin, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent or small, rounded, hyaline shoulder 0.1 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, obtuse or rounded. Sheath-mucro absent or penicellate or awl- or needleshaped, straight and erect, 2–8 mm long, mucro occasionally thick and longer than sheath.
Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets, paniculate, 10–50 mm long, 5–30 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes caducous, shorter than spikelets, cartilaginous, red-brown. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, linear or oblong or square or elliptical, apex acute, 5–25 mm, 2–4 mm, with 15–40 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile or shorter than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts as tall as flowers, 2.5–4 mm long, oblong or ovate, obtuse or acute, cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent. Male flower 2.5–3 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous, linear or oblong, inner tepals longer than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate or keeled or winged, glabrous. Anthers 1.4–3 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode absent.
Females: female inflorescence linear or racemose, 10–50 mm long, 3–6 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent or caducous, cartilaginous. Female spikelet sessile, oblong or obovate, apex truncate or rounded or acute, 5–20 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 10–15 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 6–11 mm long, oblong or elliptical, acute or acuminate, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, darker than body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 8–10 mm long, with 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 obtuse or acute, inner and outer whorls the same length or inner whorl shorter than outer. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, 3–4.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal linear, 3–4.5 mm long. Female inner tepals linear, 2–4 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles plumose, white, 2. Style bases free or 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, shorter than nut. Nut cap smooth, wall smooth, 6–10 mm long, (2.75–)3.07(–3.33) mm diam., shape in side view oblong (nut shape diagnostic. Concave at the base), shape in top view round in cross section, tan. Elaiosome present, white, 2–3 mm long, less than half as long as nut.
Distribution in Western Cape, or Northern Cape, or Eastern Cape; the Cape Floristic Region Namaqualand or Northern mountains or South-western mountains or Bredasdorp Plains or Swartberg and Little Karoo or Langeberg - Outenique mountains or Eastern Cape; A very widespread species, from Kamiesberg in the north to Bushmans River at Grahamstown in the east. It is absent from the wetter mountains of the south-western Cape, the Cape Peninsula and the West Coast. Occurrence in Provincial Conservation Areas or National Parks in the Western Cape Hex or Grootvadersbosch or Outeniqua or Towerkop.
Altitude 50–1500 m. Rockiness of habitat no rocks, or pebbly. Bedrock: Table Mountain Shale, or Granites, or Silcretes. Groundwater availability well-drained soils. Vegetation type dune thicket (strandveld), or fynbos. This very widespread species is characteristic of the arid margins of fynbos, and is often one of the last species before Karoo vegetation takes over. It is found on a diversity of substrates, often forming quite large patches, or a broken understory under woody vegetation. It is always found in well-drained habitats. Only in the Southern Cape does it enter wetter conditions, on the summits of the Outeniqua mountains. Plants coppicing from the rhizome or base after fire. Seed dispersal mode ants.