Hibiscus malacospermus is a low-growing, perennial herb, a dwarf plant with spreading habit. It has alternate leaves that are sessile, meaning without stalks. Leaf shape is narrowly linear to linear-lanceolate. The dark green leaf surfaces are prominently five-ribbed and hairy; the margins are either toothed or entire.
The flowers of H. malacospermus grow solitary from leaf margins, yellow or purple in colour. The pale pink to white petal lobes look ragged in the photo, the flower centre dark purple. The bristly, tapering calyx lobes are twice as long as the ten or more bracts below them, each three-ribbed with fringed margins.
The fruit capsules are nearly hairless, the seeds covered in white hairs.
The species distribution is widespread across southern Africa. This plant is related to H. aethiopicus (JSTOR; Letty, 1962).