The central crown of Euphorbia maleolens is positioned very close to ground level, only the angled-up, finger-like branches gain a little height around it. These branches do not always grow in a neat single row, as can be seen in the photo.
The branches are covered in rhomboid tubercles that each formed the base of a rudimentary leaf that had dropped off early. White spots at the tubercle tips show the lesions where the leaves had been attached. The tubercle dimensions are about 10 mm to 15 mm by 5 mm to 12 mm.
The central underground tuber-body may become up to about 20 cm long and 8 cm in diameter (Germishuizen and Fabian, 1982; iNaturalist; JSTOR; http://www.llifle.com).