Lanaria lanata grows from an underground stem to 80 cm (when the inflorescence is present). The tough, tufted leaves are grass-like and fibrous. They are evergreen, channelled, about 5 mm wide and finely toothed along the margins.
An Afrikaans common name for the plant, wildehondegras (wild dog grass), likens it to grass, but the blades have no ligules at the base. A ligule is the scale-like or tongue-like projection on a grass stem or sheath where it joins the blade or leaf of the grass (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Manning, 2007; Wikipedia).