Pachypodium bispinosum is a shrub with a thickly swollen succulent stem-base, a caudex that is partly above-ground. The caudex reaches heights of 60 cm and becomes 20 cm in diameter; the plant itself may be 1,2 m tall. Several long spiny, leafy and branching stems emerge from the top of this caudex.
P. bispinosum bears Afrikaans common names of ystervarkpatat (porcupine sweet potato), klokdikvoet (bell thick-foot) and sterkman (strong man).
The species grows widespread in the Eastern Cape and the Little Karoo, as far west as Ladismith. The plants are found on rocky slopes in semi-arid conditions, growing among scrub enduring the characteristic extremes of temperature of this region. The land where the plants grow is rarely targeted for human development, but the plants are collected, more for the allure of their caudices than for their flowers. Still, the species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
P. bispinosum is hard to distinguish from P. succulentum when the plants are not in bloom (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; www.redlist.sanbi.org).