egregius (L.) = outstanding, different from the common herd.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Hochst., Flora 28: 337 (1845)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped (Culms often widely spaced, making a diffuse clump), 0.5–2.4 m tall, basal diameter 0.5–1 m, crown diameter 0.5–1 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons (it is not clear by what underground structure the more diffuse above-ground structure is formed). Fertile culms sparingly branched or branching, smooth, olivaceous, 0.5–1.5 m tall, diameter at base 4–7 mm, diameter at apex 1–2.4 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 10–60 mm long, brown turning grey, apical margins narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders absent or membranous margins continuing behind awn, hyaline shoulder 0.05 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate or acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 3–10 mm long, the apical mucro seems to be easily lost. Sterile branch leaf-sheath 3–5 mm long, hyaline shoulder 1 mm long, leaf-blade 3–6 mm long; leaf blade 1 mm wide. Males: male inflorescence with 6–10 spikelets or 11–20 spikelets or 21–50 spikelets, paniculate, 40–160 mm long, 30–80 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent or caducous (rarely), shorter than spikelets, coriaceous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets pendulous on flexible pedicels, ovate, apex rounded or acute, 8–16 mm, 6–10 mm, with 5–10 flowers, pedicels longer than the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts taller than flowers, 5–10 mm long, oblong, acute or apiculate, cartilaginous, bract upper margin with honeycombed cells, which eventually decay, bract awn minute or absent or less than half as long as the bract body, distinctive little apical mucros of foveolate cells. Male flower 4.3–6 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, cartilaginous, petals membranous, oblong, inner tepals shorter than outer tepals. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 2–3.3 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode present. Females: female inflorescence racemose, 50–100 mm long, 15–20 mm wide, with 1 spikelet (mostly) or 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, coriaceous. Female spikelet pedicel simple, elliptical or obovate, apex rounded or acute, 25–50 mm long, with 2–6 flowers, with 4–8 sterile bracts. Female bracts as tall as flowers or taller than flowers, 15–25 mm long, ovate, acuminate or apiculate, cartilaginous, apical margin with honeycombed cells, darker than body of bract, awn less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 9–15 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals bony, glabrous and smooth, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals or conduplicate, 9–15 mm long. Female odd outer tepal ovate, 9–15 mm long. Female inner tepals ovate, 9–12 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 2 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed (2.92–)3.25(–3.5) mm long, (2.08–)2.59(–3) mm in diameter, shape in side view ovate or elliptical, shape in diameter elliptical in cross section, pink, smooth.