Acanthopsis dispermoides, commonly the Little Karoo spikeviolet or in Afrikaans the Klein Karoo verneukhalfmensie (Little Karoo little cheat half human) or pistoolbos (pistol bush), bears heavy names for a plant that is only a short-lived perennial reaching 15 cm in height.
On top of that the species was for a while confused with a relative form its genus, A. disperma that grows far away to the northwest in Namaqualand. The dispermoides specific name indicates the similarity to A. disperma, a brother from another region.
The verneukhalfmensie name originates from something else: Pachypodium namaquanum of Namaqualand is known as the halfmens, an impressive spiny plant that becomes a few metres tall. Acanthopsis is minuscule by comparison, although somewhat similarly shaped if a little imagination is added.
By name this plant punches well above its weight! Several old and new inflorescence columns in picture, spiny and unapproachably fortress-like, are about erect over the leaves on the ground.
The species distribution is limited to the western Little Karoo between Barrydale and Ladismith, maybe slightly northwards over the mountains into the Great Karoo. The photo was taken near Vanwyksdorp.
The habitat is clayey, rocky ridges and north-facing slopes in semi-arid scrub where fynbos meets succulent Karoo. Living up to its tough image, the species is not considered to be threatened in habitat early in the twenty first century (Steyn and Van Wyk, 2015: Taxonomic notes on the Acanthopsis disperma-hoffmannseggiana complex (Acanthaceae, tribe Acantheae), with an interim key to members of the genus. Phytotaxa 219 (1): 01–26; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; iNaturalist; http://redlist.sanbi.org).