Leucospermum oleifolium is a rounded to erect shrub reaching heights from 1 m to 1,5 m. Being single-stemmed it only reseeds and does not resprout after fire.
The leaves are broad, slightly obovate with marked yellowish tips or up to five apical teeth. They are glabrous or sometimes finely hairy, especially on the edges.
Flowerheads are produced in clusters, each being only a little more than 1 cm across. The involucre comprising several rows of bracts is short, the inner flowerhead parts, especially the long styles are exposed conspicuously. The involucral bracts are short, pale brown and hairy.
The young florets are pale yellow to greenish, becoming orange as they mature and ending up bright red before they dry out. All these colours can be observed on a flowering L. oleifolium shrub from August to December.
The pollination duties are shared widely among sunbirds, Cape sugarbirds and other feathered feasters, some of whom also consider as food the variety of insects that help them in performing this function.
The species distribution is restricted in the southwest of the Western Cape, from the Slanghoek Mountains south of Bain's Kloof to Betty's Bay and the Riviersonderend Mountains. The plant is commonly known as the Overberg pincushion, named for part of its distribution range.
The habitat is fynbos slopes in sandstone. These plants are fairly drought hardy. The species is considered near threatened in habitat early in the twenty first century, due to its range restrictedness and threats from invasive alien vegetation and forestry, the latter threat reducing (Bean and Burman, 1985; iNaturalist; www.plantzafrica.com; http://redlist.sanbi.org).