Metalasia muricata, in Afrikaans the witsteekbossie (little white stab bush), is a variable, much branched shrub with erect stems, typically growing to 2,5 m, sometimes to 4 m. The plant may form thickets on dunes and coastal land. The erect, densely leaved stems grow to similar heights, giving the shrub an even dome-shaped top. The plant has narrow, lanceolate to needle-like leaves growing in tufts. The leaves are usually twisted with hooked tips.
The flowerheads are broad, nearly flat-topped with many clusters of about five discoid florets each, positioned densely together, but loose and free from each other. Each floret is surrounded by several rows of brownish bracts, thick-textured on the outside of the cluster. Flowering happens from late autumn to early spring. The distribution of the species lies in a coastal strip from Saldanha to southern KwaZulu-Natal (Manning, 2007; Bean and Johns, 2005).