Lyperia tristis, in Afrikaans known as the traanblommetjie (little tear flower), is an annual herb that branches, growing to 60 cm. Lyperia species resemble some Jamesbrittenia plants, but have straight flower tubes, lacking the characteristic Jamesbrittenia kink.
It occurs along the coast from southern Namibia, the Northern Cape, also inland in the Western Cape and a little into the Eastern Cape. The plants grow in sandy or loamy soil on flats, often among stones.
The leaves are often clustered at the base, positioned alternately on the stems. Leaf shape is narrowly elliptic to ovate, folded in along the midrib with toothed margins. Leaves may be longer than 7 cm and 2,5 cm wide. Leaf surfaces and stems are covered in glandular hairs.
Flowers grow in racemes, each positioned solitary in a leaf axil. The thin corolla tube (2 cm or more) is much longer than the hairy green calyx. Five similar corolla lobes, broader at their somewhat square tips, surround the small flower mouth. Flower colour varies from white to cream with brown or dusky purple as well, sometimes on older flowers. The flower has a scent of cloves only at night, suggesting moth pollination (Manning, 2009; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010).