compressus (L.) = squeezed together. In reference to the flattened culms typical of this species.
WCM Protologue Reference:
(Rottb.) H.P.Linder, Bothalia 15: 64 (1984)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped, 0.8–1 m tall, basal diameter 0.3–1 m, crown diameter 0.3–1 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 3–8 mm in diam., culms 5–20 mm apart. Fertile culms branching, compressed, smooth or finely rugulose, green, 1–2.5 m tall, diameter at base 1.4–3 mm, diameter at apex 0.3–1 mm. Branch axil indumentum absent or present. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 12–40 mm long, green, apical margins narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders membranous margins continuing behind awn, hyaline shoulder 0.1 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro awl- or needleshaped, straight and erect, 2–8 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 6–10 spikelets or 11–20 spikelets (usually ca. 10), racemose, 40–140 mm long, 5–15 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent or caducous, shorter than spikelets or as tall as spikelets, coriaceous or cartilaginous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile (generally at 45 degrees to the culm), obovate, apex obtuse, 8–17 mm, 5–7 mm, with 3–7 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts more than twice as tall as flowers, 6–12 mm long, ovate, acute, cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent, much taller at the base of the spikelet than the apex. Male flower 2.8–3.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous or cartilaginous, linear, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, keel sparsely villous or keel densely villous. Anthers 1.8–2.1 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode present. Females: female inflorescence linear, 20–120 mm long, 10–15 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets (most collections with a single spikelet). Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent or caducous, coriaceous or cartilaginous. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical or obovate, apex truncate or rounded, 15–30 mm long, with 3–10 flowers, with 0–1 sterile bracts. Female bracts at least twice as long as flowers, 8–18 mm long, ovate, acute, cartilaginous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 3.3–5.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals cartilaginous, keels of lateral sepals sparsely villous or keels of lateral sepals densely villous, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute or acuminate (rarely the sepals acuminate), inner and outer whorls the same length (occasionally the petals slightly shorter than the sepals). Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 3.3–5.8 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 3–5.3 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 2.5–4 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 2 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed (1.36–)1.62(–1.96) mm long, (1–)1.14(–1.56) mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical or round, shape in diameter round in cross section, white, brittle, white ornamentation.