The many leaves of the Stipagrostis ciliata var. capensis basal tuft are long and narrow, sometimes curled. The leaf blade becomes up to 1,5 mm wide, the leaf sheath hairy. Most leaves are basal. The culms are erect or geniculate, i.e. abruptly bent, the nodes hair-ringed.
The plant often occurs in the veld together with a related grass species, the shorter growing S. obtusa that has dark, hairless nodes (Van Oudtshoorn, et al, 1991; iNaturalist).