Buchenau in H.G.A.Engler, Pflanzenr. , IV, 36: 248 (1906)
T: Ostafrikanisches Waldgebiet, West-Usambara, 1400–1600 m [Tanzania, W Usambara Mtns], A.Engler 1060; syn: B, destroyed; A.Engler 1409; syn: B, destroyed.
Perennials, 25–40 (–60) cm tall, loosely caespitose; rhizome creeping-ascending; stolons absent; stems ascending, rooting, with internodes short; cataphylls absent. Leaves only basal, mid-green, 12–20 (–40) cm long, (3–) 5–8 (–12) mm wide near base, ±flat to channelled; sheaths closed, to 2 cm long, later split, usually tinged reddish, with margins colourless or whitish, c. 0.1 mm wide; auricles absent; leaf apex subulate. Stems terete, ±smooth, leafless. Lower bract subherbaceous, c. 1.0–4.0 cm long, shorter than inflorescence. Inflorescence ±erect, anthelate; main branches usually 5–10, (1–) 2–6 (–8) cm long, ±smooth; secondary branches subdistal; upper bracts blackish-brown, scabrid (papillose), subtending hemispherical (1–) 3–7 (–10)-flowered heads; uppermost bracts c. one per flower, c. 3 mm long, ±triangular, brownish. Tepals ±unequal; outer tepals lanceolate, carinate, acuminate, c. 2.4–2.7 mm long, dark brown, often scabrid on midrib, with margins narrow and indistinct; inner tepals ovate-lanceolate, broader, c. 2.5–2.8 × c. 1.0 mm, obtuse, dark brown, with margins broad, membranous. Stamens 6; anthers 0.5–0.8 mm long; filaments 0.6–0.7 mm long; style c. 0.2 mm long; stigmas ±reddish, patent-contorted, c. 0.6–0.9 mm long, long papillose. Capsule oblong-ovoid, subtrigonous, ±abruptly contracted in an apiculate apex, c. 1.9–2.5 mm long, shorter than to subequalling perianth, shiny, red-brown above. Seeds ±ovoid, paler brown, 0.4–0.5 mm long including a short whitish apex, c. 0.3 mm wide, faintly reticulate to almost smooth; appendages ±absent.