tri (L.) = three, + flos (L.) = flowers. Referring to three-flowered spikelets, found in this species.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Rottb., Descr. Pl. Rar.: 10 (1772)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped or tufted, 0.25–0.5 m tall, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms branching or much branched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, roughly warty, olivaceous, 0.22–0.5 m tall, diameter at base 0.6–1.4 mm, diameter at apex 0.2–0.6 mm. Branch axil indumentum absent. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches present. Sterile branches present while flowering. Sheaths more than 1 per culm, persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 5–15 mm long, orange to reddish-brown with tan speckles, or sometimes tan is the dominant colour and there are reddish speckles, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins broadly membranous, hyaline shoulders tall, acute or membranous margins continuing behind awn, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro awl- or needleshaped, straight and erect, 0.5–1.5 mm long, the hyaline shoulders are very tall, generally reaching up to the tip of the awn. Sterile branch leaf-sheath 0.5–1.2 mm long (sheath has a very long thick penicillate mucro, which accounts for about half the sheath's length), hyaline shoulder 0.2–0.5 mm long. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets, racemose, 8–80 mm long, 1.5–5 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, elliptical, at least some curved or all straight, apex acute, 6–15 mm, 1.2–2.2 mm, with 8–25 flowers, pedicels absent ie spikelets sessile. Male bracts taller than flowers, 3.5–4.5 mm long, oblong or elliptical or obovate, rounded, cartilaginous, 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 2.5–3.5 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, chartaceous, oblong or elliptical (generally quite long and slender, almost linear), inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, keel sparsely villous. Anthers 1.2–2.1 mm long, exserted from the flowers. Females: female inflorescence interrupted or linear (Usually more than one spikelet, often numerous, thus long inflorescences), 5–120 mm long, 1.5–5 mm wide, with 1 spikelet or 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent, coriaceous or cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, undifferentiated, apex undifferentiated, 5–25 mm long, with 2–35 flowers (usually about 10–15), with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts taller than flowers, erect, 3.5–5 mm long, oblong, rounded, chartaceous or cartilaginous, apical margin membranous, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 2.5–3.6 mm long, regular, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals chartaceous, keels of lateral sepals sparsely villous or keels of lateral sepals densely villous, midrib raised, apices acute, inner whorl shorter than outer. Female outer lateral tepals conduplicate, 2.5–3.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal elliptical or ovate, 2.5–3.5 mm long. Female inner tepals elliptical, 2–3 mm long. Staminodes absent. Styles feathery, white, 2. Style bases fused to form a pillar. Ovary with 1 locule, dehiscent. Fruit: seed (1.16–)1.29(–1.52) mm long, (0.72–)0.82(–0.92) mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter elliptical in cross section, white, smooth (though with a distinctive 'cobblestone' pattern).