Orbea hardyi is a creeping stem succulent, a perennial. Its worm-like stems are slightly four-angled, pale green or grey to reddish, depending on the light, but all with purple mottling. The stems branch low down, becoming 30 cm long. Small, conical tubercles with tips that curve back are spaced along the stems.
The species is found in Limpopo between Polokwane (Pietersburg) and Makhado (Louis Trichardt); maybe also towards eastern Mpumalanga. The plants grow in deep shade of montane forests in humus-rich litter on south-facing slopes and rocky outcrops. They are difficult to spot when there are no flowers to announce their presence. This is a rare plant although its population in habitat is stable early in the twenty first century.
Previous names include Orbeanthus hardyi and before that Stultitia hardyi (Hardy and Fabian, 1992; www.succulent-plant.com; www.redlist.sanbi.org).