giganteus (L.) = giant, very large. This is a suitable name, as this is the tallest species in the genus.
WCM Protologue Reference:
(Kunth) H.P.Linder, Bothalia 15: 479 (1985)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 2–3 m tall, basal diameter 0.1–0.5 m, crown diameter 0.5–1.5 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, smooth or finely rugulose, olivaceous, 2–4 m tall, diameter at base 5–7 mm, diameter at apex 2–4 mm. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches present. Sterile branches present post flowering. Sheaths closely convoluted, 25–60 mm long, dark brown, apical margins broadly chartaceous and soon decaying, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acuminate. Sheath-mucro absent. Sterile branch leaf-sheath 1 mm long, hyaline shoulder 0.5–3 mm long, leaf-blade 4–6 mm long; leaf blade 0.1 mm wide (apex with a terminal soft prickle). Males: male inflorescence with 101–500 spikelets, paniculate, 250–500 mm long, 60–100 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent (like the sheaths), upper margins lacerated and largely decayed at anthesis, shorter than spikelets, chartaceous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets pendulous on flexible pedicels, oblong or elliptical, apex rounded or obtuse, 6–11 mm, 2–4 mm, with 6–8 flowers, pedicels shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets or longer than the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts as tall as flowers, 3.5–4 mm long, oblong, rounded or obtuse or acute, chartaceous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent. Male flower 3–4 mm long. Male tepals sepals and petals the same rigidity, cartilaginous, oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 1.7–2 mm long, included in the flowers. Pistillode absent. Females: female inflorescence paniculate, 180–400 mm long, 20–40 mm wide, with 101–500 spikelets. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets, persistent (like the sheaths), chartaceous (decaying with age). Female spikelet pedicel much branched (rigid and erect), obovate or obtriangular, apex truncate or rounded, 5–7 mm long, with 1 flowers, with 3–6 sterile bracts. Female bracts shorter than flowers, 2.5–4 mm long, ovate, rounded or obtuse, chartaceous, apical margin like rest of bract, same as body of bract, awn minute or absent. Female flower 4.5–6 mm long, without a fleshy pedicel. Female tepals bony, glabrous and smooth, midrib flush with the tepal body, apices acute, inner whorl longer than outer or inner and outer whorls the same length. Female outer lateral tepals like other tepals, 4.5–6 mm long. Female odd outer tepal oblong or ovate, 4.5–6 mm long. Female inner tepals oblong or ovate, 4.5–6 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles feathery, white, 3. Style bases free. Ovary with 3 locules, dehiscent. Fruit: seed surface type 10, 1.6–1.8 mm long, 1–1.5 mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter rectangular in cross section, brown or grey, colliculate (very finely) or rugose.