ornatus (L.) = adorned, embellished. In reference to the dissected and ornamented perianth wings.
WCM Protologue Reference:
Esterh., Bothalia 15: 396 (1985)
Vegetative parts: plants tufted, 0.15–0.4 m tall, basal diameter 0.01–0.05 m, crown diameter 0.1–0.3 m, compact, without spreading rhizomes or stolons. Fertile culms unbranched, round (not compressed), solid or with a small central cavity, smooth or finely rugulose, green or olivaceous, 0.15–0.4 m tall, diameter at base 0.8–1 mm, diameter at apex 0.4–0.6 mm. Branch axil indumentum absent. Clusters of sterile branches at the nodes of the fertile branches absent. Sheaths absent or one per culm or more than 1 per culm, persistent, with no abscission line, closely convoluted, 10–35 mm long, margins entire, brown, upper 1/3 in colour and texture similar to the lower 2/3, apical margins coriaceous, like the rest of the body, hyaline shoulders absent, apex, excluding the membranous lobes, acute. Sheath-mucro penicellate, straight and erect, 0–1.5 mm long. Sterile branch leaf-sheath 6–10 mm long (sterile culms up to 25cm long), hyaline shoulder 5 mm long, leaf-blade 2–6 mm long; leaf blade 0.5 mm wide. Males: male inflorescence with 2–5 spikelets or 6–10 spikelets, paniculate, 20–30 mm long, 20 mm wide. Male inflorescence spathes persistent, like the floral bracts, coriaceous or chartaceous. Male flowers in spikelets. Male spikelets pendulous on flexible pedicels, oblong or obovate, all straight, apex rounded or acute, 10–20 mm, 2–9 mm, with 20 flowers, pedicels as long as the spikelets, flattened. Male bracts taller than flowers, 5–7 mm long, oblong or ovate (tapering to a fine point), acute or acuminate, margins entire, chartaceous, bract upper margin like body of bract, bract awn minute or absent, body dark brown, no distinct margins, no crisping. Male flower 4.5–5 mm long. Male tepals sepals more rigid than petals, chartaceous (margins finely serrate to lacerated), petals chartaceous, linear or oblong, inner and outer tepals the same length. Male outer lateral tepals keeled or winged or conduplicate, glabrous. Anthers 2–2.5 mm long, included in the flowers. Pistillode present. Females: female inflorescence with 1 spikelet. Female spathes shorter than the spikelets or as long as the spikelets, persistent, cartilaginous. Female spathellae inconspicuous or absent. Female spikelet sessile, elliptical, apex acute, 15–30 mm long, with 20 flowers, with 0 sterile bracts. Female bracts at least twice as long as flowers, erect, 13–16 mm long, oblong or ovate, acuminate, chartaceous or cartilaginous, apical margin membranous (apical margin is membranous and maybe lacerated), paler than body of bract or same as body of bract (very narrow apical membranous margins), margins entire, awn less than half as long as the bract body. Female flower 2.3–4 mm long, regular, without a fleshy pedicel, six tepals. Female tepals cartilaginous (outer lateral tepals bony), glabrous and smooth, at least as tall as nut, wrapped around it and obscuring the surface, midrib flush with the tepal body, margins entire, apices acute, inner whorl shorter than outer (usually). Female outer lateral tepals keeled or winged, wings deeply lobed (lobes form stiff curved spines very variable in size and shape), as wide as body or wider than body, hidden by bracts, or bracts are shorter than flowers, 2.5–3.5 mm long. Female odd outer tepal linear or oblong, 2.5–3 mm long. Female inner tepals linear or oblong, 2.5–3.5 mm long. Staminodes present. Styles flattened, white, 2. Style bases seated on a stylopodium. Ovary with 1 locule, indehiscent. Fruit: indehiscent fruits with a softer ovary wall. Perianth presence on fruits persistent, winged. Shape of winged dispersal unit oblong, narrower than long. Nut apex smooth, without a distinct cap, wall smooth, (1.84–)2.48(–3.16) mm long, (1.36–)1.64(–2.16) mm diam., shape in side view elliptical, shape in top view elliptical in cross section, brown. Elaiosome absent.