aridus (L.) = dry, arid. Named after the habitat, on the arid fringes of the Cape mountains.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Pillans, Ann. Bolus Herb. 3: 84 (1921)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.15–0.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.1–0.3 m, crown diameter 0.4–0.5 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms branching, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, finely warty, green, 0.1–0.5 m tall, diameter at base 0.4–1.2 mm, diameter at apex 0.2–0.7 mm. Branch axil indumentum absent. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches absent. Sheaths more than 1 per culm, persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 3–24 mm long, margins entire, orange to reddish-brown, often with tan speckles and membranous margins, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3 or abruptly different from the base, and soon decaying, apical margins broadly membranous, hyaline shoulders membranous margins continuing behind awn, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate or acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect or recurved, 0.7–3.5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets, paniculate, 10–40 mm long, 4–6 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, shorter than spikelets, cartilaginous. Male spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, elliptical, apex acute, 4.7–6.5 mm, 1.3–2 mm, with 6–9 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts taller than flowers, 3–4.3 mm long, oblong or ovate, acute or acuminate, margins entire, cartilaginous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn less than half as long as the bract body. Male flower 2.5–3 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous, oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals keeled or winged, keel sparsely villous. Anthers 1–1.3 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted, 10–45 mm long, 5–12 mm wide, with 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spikelet pedicel simple, oblong, apex acute, 6–8.5 mm long, with 5–9 flowers, with 1 sterile bracts. Female bracts as tall as flowers, erect, 4–5 mm long, ovate, acute, cartilaginous, apical margin membranous, same as body of bract, awn less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 3.5–4.5 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals cartilaginous, keels of lateral sepals densely villous, midrib raised, margins entire, apices acute or acuminate, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 2.8–3.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or ovate (wide at the base but with parallel sides), 2.8–3.5 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 2.8–3.5 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles feathery, 2. Style bases fused to form a pillar. Ovary with 1 locule, dehiscent. Fruit: seed (1.4–)1.45(–1.52) mm long, (0.76–)0.77(–0.8) mm in diameter, shape in side view oblong, shape in diameter triangular in cross section, translucent (shiny), smooth.