pumilus (L.) = a dwarf. Referring to the small size of the plants.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Esterh., Bothalia 15: 458 (1985)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.14–0.27 m tall, basal diameter 0.01–0.05 m, crown diameter 0.15–0.3 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms branching, solid or with a small central cavity, roughly warty, green or olivaceous, 0.15–0.27 m tall, diameter at base 0.1–1 mm, diameter at apex 0.1–0.3 mm. Sheaths persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 6–12 mm long, margins entire, brown, with darker tubercles, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders tall, acute, hyaline shoulder 0.2 of sheath body length, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro hair-like, straight and erect or twisted, 1.5–3 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets, sparsely paniculate, 15–30 mm long, 2–10 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, shorter than spikelets, chartaceous, apex soon decaying. Male spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, elliptical or ovate or obovate or orbicular or undifferentiated, all straight, apex rounded or obtuse or acute or undifferentiated, 2–4 mm, 2–4 mm, with 2–4 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts shorter than flowers, 1.5–2 mm long, oblong, acute, chartaceous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body (decaying), bract awn minute or absent, about half as long as the flowers. Male flower 1.8–2.5 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. Anthers 1.2 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Females: female inflorescence sparsely paniculate, 10–50 mm long, 3–8 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, chartaceous. Female spikelet sessile, oblong or elliptical or ovate or obovate or undifferentiated, apex rounded or obtuse or undifferentiated, 2–3 mm long, with 1–2 flowers, with 3–4 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, erect, 1–1.5 mm long, oblong, acute, chartaceous, apical margin membranous, paler than body of bract, margins entire, awn minute or absent. Female flower 2–3 mm long, oblique or regular (rather obscurely so, due to the minute size of the flowers), without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals cartilaginous, 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 (only on one side!), 2–3 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 2–3 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 2–3 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 2 locules or 1 locule, dehiscent. Fruit: seed 1.2 mm long, 0.8 mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter round in cross section, brown or black, colliculate; funicular elaiosome absent.