Astroloba smutsiana is a small succulent found in the western parts of the Little Karoo. It branches at ground level into a few erect stems covered in dense leaves. The leaves are smooth, light-green with yellow and red colouring, the latter being especially enhanced in summer and full sun. There are sharp spikes at the leaf tips. Small cream flowers appear in summer on long stalks.
There are about 18 species in the genus Astroloba, many of them endemic in the Karoo. The genus looks like small aloes, but their leaf sap is not bitter like aloe sap. The astrolobas are related to both aloes and haworthias, all of them belonging to the family Asphodelaceae (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010).