The stalked and pointed Macledium spinosum leaves are very erect on these branch tips. At the end of a dry summer (photo in March) they are very white; velvety hairs contribute to their appearance. By June when there should have been some showers one would expect a greener presentation.
Although most flowerheads of the last season have disappeared, the roundabout defence of their thin beige spines retains enough purpose to convince a percentage of would-be browsers to move on and eat elsewhere… about as effective as lazy restaurant waiters not hoping for tips. Percentages are regulated by hunger, browser (or diner) attributes and the availability of alternative options close by (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010).