Metalasia densa is a branched, woody shrub that commonly reaches heights around 2,5 m, rarely 4 m. It sometimes sprouts after fire.
The plant grows narrow, twisted leaves in clusters formed by axillary tufts of young leaves emerging behind the longer, mature primary leaves on the stems. Leaves are often flexed downwards. Leaf shape is lanceolate to ovate, its dimensions 1,5 cm by 3 mm. Leaf margins are rolled upwards, the groove between the margins at the top of the leaf white-woolly, the lower surface nearly hairless.
The species distribution lies in a broad coastal strip from Namaqualand along the south coast to the Eastern Cape and inland to the Free State and Lesotho. It is also found across the Vaal River as far as Limpopo around the Soutpansberg, but avoiding the arid northwestern to central parts of the country.
The habitat includes fynbos, coastal and other scrubland in sandy or loam soils on flats and slopes. All 52 species of Metalasia are found in the fynbos (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Manning, 2007; iSpot).