Coarse to slender, smooth, stout-rhizomatous perennial, stems short. Leaves often excurved, stiff, (6-)10-25 cm, blades compressed but firm, linear to linear-triangular, 2-4 mm wide, abruptly acute to acuminate or subulate-aristate, margins thickened-rounded, sharply revolute, surface coarsely veined. Scape 10-40 cm, distally terete, 1.5-2.1 mm thick, rarely sulcate, scape bracts 1 pair, mostly unequal, oblong-linear, (2-)3-5 cm; spikes variable in size and pigmentation, narrowly turbinate to obovate, ellipsoid or ovoid, 1.5-3 cm, flowers several to many, all bracts markedly shorter than sepals, ovate, 9-13 mm, acuminate-aristate. Lateral sepals incurved, 10-16 mm, margins scarious, broad, pale, keel thin, broad, spinulose-tipped; corolla 14-16 mm, blue or blue-violet; anthers 2-2.5 mm; lateral stylar appendages reflexed, flattened-clavate, basally auriculate. Capsule ellipsoid, ca. 4 mm long, valve tips short-acuminate, papillose; seeds ovoid to ellipsoid or subprismatic, 0.7-0.8 mm, dark brown to black, coarsely and irregularly ribbed, the intervals broad, nearly smooth.
Amazonian Brazil present, Southern America: Paraguay (Paraguay present), Suriname present, central Brazil present
Suriname(?) S through Amazonian Brazil, central Brazil, to Paraguay.
The Suriname collection is admitted to the Flora with some doubt. The specimen is depauperate, consisting of a scape, 2 basal scape bracts and one separated principal leaf. The scape bracts are in 1 pair, and are in the length range for the species; the leaf characters fit as do those of the single spike. The problem is that Focke 1319 in U is the type of
Paepalanthus subtilis Miq. and Focke would hardly have made a mixed collection of two plants so different. Probably wrongly attributed at MO to Focke. A specimen, Hostmann 1319 at GOET, not yet seen by this writer, but cited by Pulle (Enum. Pl. Suriname p. 85. 1906) may provide a clue.