The stalkless leaves of Berkheya cruciata clasp the stems. They are broadly lobed, heart-shaped at the base and tapering to narrowly pointed tips. The leaves are bluish-grey (or glaucous) and hairless (or glabrous). The whitish leaf midrib and a few curving additional veins, diminishing in size towards the margins, diverge at the leaf base and converge near its tip.
A long apical spine at the leaf tip and a few slightly shorter ones spaced along the toothed margins, present a formidable protective system for the plant. Defence is, however, as good as the alternative options available to would-be attackers that will demonstrate increasing urgency to their browsing needs in times of want. Leaves, excluding spines, are about 5 cm long and 2 cm wide (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; iSpot; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984).