Raphionacme hirsuta is commonly known as false gentian. It is a small perennial with branches emanating from a stout tuberous rootstock, a caudex. The leaves are alternate, elliptical, sometimes hairy with whitish net-veining. Clusters of flowers come in different shades of pink to lilac from late winter into summer. There are interesting corona lobes at the centre next to the corolla lobes.
The distribution of this plant covers the eastern half of South Africa and several of the neighbouring countries in grassland and savannah. The flowers are often conspicuous after veld fires that do not affect the tubers, thus not the survival of the plants (Manning 2009).