Burchell, W.J., a remarkable traveller, who travelled extensively in southern Africa from 1811 to 1814, covering many areas not previously explored. His account of his travels contains many insights into life at the Cape, and more remarkably, often lists of species and vegetation descriptions of various areas.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Pillans, Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 29: 340 (1942)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.2–0.6 m tall, basal diameter 0.01–0.1 m, crown diameter 0.1–0.3 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched or sparingly branched, smooth or finely warty, olivaceous, 0.2–0.6 m tall, diameter at base 0.8–1.5 mm, diameter at apex 0.5–1 mm. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 10–20 mm long, dark brown, upper 1/3 in colour and texture abruptly different from the base, and soon decaying (membranous, and soon decaying), apical margins narrowly membranous or broadly chartaceous and soon decaying, hyaline shoulders tall, acute, hyaline shoulder 0.2 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, truncate. Sheath-mucro hair-like, straight and erect, 1–2 mm long, lower coriaceous portion truncate, upper membranous portion decaying almost immediately. Males: male inflorescence with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets, racemose, 10–50 mm long, 5–10 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, like the floral bracts, coriaceous or cartilaginous, apical portion soon decaying. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, elliptical or orbicular, apex rounded, 9–14 mm, 5–8 mm, with 15–40 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts shorter than flowers, 3–5 mm long, square, obtuse, cartilaginous, bract upper margin with honeycombed cells, which eventually decay (often only the very tip), bract awn minute or absent, concave structures, striate with 5–7 nerves, sometimes only the tip foveolate. Male flower 4–4.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, cartilaginous, petals membranous, linear or oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, keel densely villous. Anthers 1.8–2.2 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode present. Females: female inflorescence 10–60 mm long, 7–15 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, coriaceous. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical or obovate, apex rounded or acute, 6–18 mm long, with 1–3 flowers, with 3–5 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, 4–7 mm long, oblong or square, obtuse, cartilaginous, apical margin with honeycombed cells, darker than body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 4.5–6 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals cartilaginous, keels of lateral sepals densely villous, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 4.5–6 mm long. Female odd outer tepal ovate, 4.5–6 mm long. Female inner tepals linear or oblong, 4–5 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 2 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed (1.8–)2.45(–2.72) mm long, (1.2–)1.66(–1.76) mm in diameter, shape in side view oblong, shape in diameter triangular in cross section, brown or grey, colliculate.