alpinus (L.) = growing in the alpine zone. This species is restricted to the summits of the mountains.
WCM Protologue Reference:
H.P.Linder & Vlok, Pl. Syst. Evol. 175: 156 (1991)
Vegetative parts: plants clumped, 0.3–0.5 m tall, basal diameter 0.3–1 m, crown diameter 0.3–1 m, with rhizomes. Rhizome spreading, unbranched or sparsely branched, culms evenly spaced, 2–4 mm in diam., culms 2–5 mm apart. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth or finely rugulose, olivaceous, 0.3–0.5 m tall, diameter at base 1–2 mm, diameter at apex 1–1.5 mm. Sheaths closely convoluted, 30–50 mm long, brown with yellow speckling, apical margins broadly chartaceous and soon decaying, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect or twisted, 4–10 mm long. Sterile branch leaf-sheath 2–3 mm long, hyaline shoulder 4–5 mm long, leaf-blade 7 mm long; leaf blade 0.1 mm wide (acicular, formed after fire as coppice material). Males: male inflorescence with 6–10 spikelets or 11–20 spikelets, paniculate, 40–130 mm long, 20–40 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, as tall as spikelets or taller than spikelets, chartaceous (with broad membranous margins), with broad membranous margins. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets pendulous on flexible pedicels, elliptical or ovate, apex rounded or obtuse, 5–7 mm, 2–4 mm, with 4–6 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts taller than flowers, 4–6 mm long, oblong or ovate, obtuse or acute, chartaceous, bract upper margin membranous, thinner texture than the body, bract awn minute or absent. Male flower 3.3–3.5 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 1.5–2 mm long, included in the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence linear or paniculate, 30–60 mm long, 10–15 mm wide, with 6–10 spikelets or 11–20 spikelets. Female spathes longer than the spikelets (with a long slender brown awn and wide membranous margins), not obscuring spikelet (partially obscuring the flowers), persistent, chartaceous. Female spikelet pedicel sparsely branching, elliptical or ovate, apex obtuse or acute, 5–7 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 4 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, 4–5.5 mm long, ovate, rounded or obtuse or acute, chartaceous or membranous (along the margins), apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent or less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 4.5–5 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, 4.5–5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong, 4.5–5 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong, 4–5 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white or pink, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 3 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed 1.28 mm long, 0.68 mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter rectangular in cross section, tan.