The dark green to purple-brown leaves of Gasteria brachyphylla var. brachyphylla are arranged in distichous formation, meaning stacked in two opposite vertical arrays. New leaves start off erectly in the centre of the fan of leaves, spreading sideways as they are pushed out by the later arrivals.
The conspicuous leaf spots, cream to pale green in colour, tend to form transversal bands, more so on some leaves. The leaves are thickly succulent, the beestong common name giving a reasonable analogy to a cow’s tongue. Succulence renders the upper surface slightly convex.
A leaf may become up to 30 cm long and 7 cm wide. The specific name of brachyphylla, a Greek word meaning short-leaved (brachy is short and phyllon is leaf), brings the shortness selected as naming characteristic for the species in question (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; www.plantzafrica.com).