The succulent, cylindrical leaves of Crassothonna protecta are alternate, becoming about 3 cm long and 3 mm in diameter. In the photo they are greyer than green. The leaves may also become reddish purple in the hot and dry season when growth slows down. There is longitudinal channelling upon the leaves in picture.
The plant was seen near Oudtshoorn in August, growing in a very stony patch. The distribution of the species ranges from Namibia to the Little Karoo where the plants are found in semi-arid scrub-veld (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; iSpot).