In the off-season Aptosimum procumbens presents only a dense mat of leaves as seen here. The photo was taken in May in the Karoo near Beaufort West. Rain has already revived the leaves after the summer of this semi-arid region; flowers to follow in spring and summer. The plants are often found in low-lying areas and floodplains in clayey soils.
Leaves are alternate and densely clustered on the branched stems. Quite long branches of this mature plant spread widely over the stony ground. The spread may reach 1 m in diameter. The lifespan of this species is usually only a few years.
While tortoises eat the plant, notably the flowers, stock and game do not favour it. Sheep are treated for krimpsiekte using a medicine made of this plant (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; www.plantzafrica.com).