T: South Africa, Buffalo R., 15 miles from E London, 18 Jan 1930, R.S.Adamson 179; lecto: BOL, fide S.Snogerup, Willdenowia 23: 59 (1993).
Perennials, c. 40–130 (–200) cm tall; rhizome creeping, short-noded, densely branched. Leaves terete, 20–100 cm long, 1–5 mm in diam. Lower two bracts leaf-like with wide sheaths, usually exceeding inflorescence; middle bracts narrowly ovate, amplexicaul, acuminate, often with a small, distinct lamina; bracts subtending heads ovate, shorter to ±equalling flowers, scarious. Inflorescence usually lax, rarely consisting of a few clusters. Flowers dark. Tepals ±unequal; outer tepals longer, with base and midrib herbaceous, with margins scarious, ovate, cymbiform, keeled, with scarious margin slightly broader distally, very fragile; mucro 0.1–0.3 mm long; inner tepals oblong, subobtuse to obtuse. Anthers shorter than tepals. Capsule 2–2.5 (–3) mm long, trigono-obovoid to trigono-ellipsoidal, usually obtuse, dark brown to castaneous at least in apical part. Seeds with very short unequal appendages.