Athanasia trifurcata, the klaaslouwbos, is a shrub growing erect branches from a single stem to 1,5 m in height. The leaves may be hairy or not, often scurfy with a pale grey dust-like covering as in the photo. The leaves are alternate, narrow, almost oblong with two to five acutely pointed teeth at the tips, where the leaves widen slightly. The leaves tend to vary much on plants of this species; may also be bright green and rounded.
This plant grows on flats and rocky slopes among various vegetation types. It may invade previously cultivated fields, patches of degraded soil and disturbed land at roadsides. The plant is widespread from Namaqualand to the southern Cape and the Little Karoo to Port Elizabeth.
An Afrikaans common name, kouterbos (colter bush), originates from the trouble farmers experienced with the branches of this plant collecting on the colter of their ploughs, requiring them to stop and remove the plant debris. The colter is a sharp blade or wheel-like disc with sharp edge attached to the beam of a plough, acting as a cutter of the ground ahead of the ploughshare (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Manning, 2007).