sabulum (L.) = gravel, sand. Referring to the habitat in sandy places.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Pillans, Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 16: 285 (1928)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.16–0.35 m tall, basal diameter 0.1–1 m, crown diameter 0.1–1 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 3–7 mm in diam., culms 5–20 mm apart. Fertile culms sparingly branched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth or finely warty or punctate (at high magnification tiny pits or papillae are visible, sometimes they are sunken and sometimes raised, hard to distinguish), green, 0.15–0.35 m tall, diameter at base 0.7–1.8 mm, diameter at apex 0.4–0.7 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, 6–22 mm long, light green or (most frequently) tan, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body or narrowly membranous, hyaline shoulders tall, acute, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, truncate. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 1.5–10 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets, racemose, 3–18 mm long, 1–2.5 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, shorter than spikelets, coriaceous or cartilaginous. Male spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets erect on stiff pedicels or sessile, oblong or elliptical, apex undifferentiated, 4–6.5 mm, 0.9–1.4 mm, with 2–3 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts as tall as flowers or taller than flowers, 4.5–5.5 mm long, oblong or elliptical or obovate (sometimes obovate), obtuse or acute, chartaceous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn minute or absent or less than half as long as the bract body. Male flower 3.5–4 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous or membranous, linear, inner tepals shorter than outer tepals or inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate or as other tepals (sometimes conduplicate), glabrous. Anthers 1.2–1.5 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted, 3–15 mm long, 1.5–3 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, coriaceous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 3.5–5.5 mm long, with 2 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts as tall as flowers or taller than flowers, erect, 3–5 mm long, oblong or ovate or obovate (rarely obovate but it does occur), acute, coriaceous, apical margin membranous, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent or less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 2.8–3.8 mm long, regular, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals chartaceous (though not too thin), keels of lateral sepals sparsely villous, midrib flush with the tepal body, margins entire, apices acute, inner and outer whorls the same length or inner whorl shorter than outer. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 2.8–3.8 mm long. Female odd outer tepal ovate, 2.8–3.8 mm long. Female inner tepals elliptical or ovate, 2.2–3.2 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles feathery, 2. Style bases fused to form a pillar. Ovary with 1 locule, dehiscent. Fruit: seed 0.84–0.84 mm long, (0.76–)0.78(–0.8) mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter round in cross section, white, colliculate.