panicle = branching inflorescence, referring the the characteristically large branching inflorescence topping the plants.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Rottb., Descr. Pl. Rar.: 4 (1772)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped, 1-2.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.5-5 m, crown diameter 0.5-5 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 20 mm in diam. Fertile culms branching or much branched, round (not compressed) (but often flattened opposite branches), smooth, olivaceous, 0.5-2.5 m tall, diameter at base 4.5-8.5 mm, diameter at apex 0.1-1 mm. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches present. Sterile branches present while flowering (almost part of the inflorescence). Sheaths closely convoluted, 5-60 mm long, brown to olive-coloured, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent (on sheaths on main axis) or tall, acute (on inflorescence and sterile branches), hyaline shoulder 0.8-1.5 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 2-10 mm long, sheaths on lower and upper portions of the culms are remarkably different. Sterile branch leaf-sheath 3-6 mm long, hyaline shoulder 2-5 mm long, leaf-blade 2-5 mm long; leaf blade 0.1-0.5 mm wide. Males: male inflorescence with 50-100 spikelets or 101-500 spikelets (this inflorescence is difficult to interpret, as it appears to consist of the entire upper portion of the culm), paniculate, 100-350 mm long, 20-150 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, like the floral bracts, chartaceous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, oblong or ovate or obovate, apex rounded, 3.5-7 mm, 1.5-4 mm, with 3-10 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile or longer than the spikelets, terete or angular. Male bracts shorter than flowers or as tall as flowers, 1.5-2.8 mm long, oblong or ovate, obtuse or acute, chartaceous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn minute or absent, whole bract margin membranous, mostly quite a narrow margin, occasionally almost the full width of the bract. Male flower 1.8-2.6 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, cartilaginous, petals chartaceous, oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous or keel sparsely villous (very obscurely so). Anthers 1-1.3 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Pistillode present. Females: female inflorescence paniculate, 100-400 mm long, 20-90 mm wide, with 51-100 spikelets or 101-500 spikelets. Female spathes like floral bracts, persistent, chartaceous. Female spikelet sessile, oblong or ovate or obovate, apex rounded, 3.5-6.5 mm long, with 3-7 flowers, with 3-5 sterile bracts (much smaller than the flowers, and forming a cone at the base of the spikelets). Female bracts shorter than flowers, 1.2-3 mm long, ovate, rounded or obtuse or acute, chartaceous, apical margin membranous, paler than body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 1.8-3 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals cartilaginous, glabrous and smooth or keels of lateral sepals sparsely villous (very sparsely pilose, almost not visible), at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices rounded or acute, inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate or keeled or winged, wings entire, narrower than body, 1.8-3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 1.6-2.8 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 1.5-2.5 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Nut (1.08-)1.35(-1.52) mm long, (0.6-)0.76(-0.88) mm diam., shape in side view obovate, shape in top view round in cross section, black. Elaiosome absent.