This unusual black flower of Brachystelma gerrardii has opened widely, showing shiny, uneven surfaces inside the corolla. Longitudinal midrib folds run from base to tip. Hairiness is only evident at the base along the margins. The lobe margins are slightly turned down, not quite rolled under. The erect structure of the outer corona and the staminal column in the centre are cream-coloured with five narrow lobes, in this case converging into a narrow cluster. Tiny inner corona lobes are also present.
In the background there is a a closed green bud with pointed tip. The dark seams where it will split open when ready, are clearly visible.
The soft green leaves of B. gerrardii are hairy, with prominent midribs and entire, slightly undulating margins. The leaves are ovate in shape, nearly sessile with very short petioles. Thin, wiry bracts are found at the leaf base.
The plant is a perennial herb of rocky grassland. It grows annual branches from its subterranean fleshy root cluster, partly fused together, long and tuberous. These roots are dug up and eaten by animals; sometimes by people as well (iSpot; JSTOR; www.redlist.sanbi.org).