Cuspidia cernua, commonly known in Afrikaans as the wortelbossie (little root bush), is an annual reaching 30 cm in height. The genus is monotypic, the single species having two subspecies, both endemic to South Africa. The plants are stemless or branched.
The soft, stem-clasping leaves are simple and alternate, oblong with spine-toothed margins. The blades are hairless when mature but cobwebby when young. The thin, soft spines are few and spaced. The leaves are about 3 cm long and 1 cm wide.
The generic name, Cuspidia, is derived from the Latin word, cuspis, meaning a point, probably referring to the marginal spines of the leaves.
The species distribution is in the Eastern Cape as far east as Uitenhage, the little Karoo in the Western Cape and the Great Karoo into the Northern Cape. The photo was taken south of Beaufort West.
The habitat is arid and semi-arid karoid scrub, in loamy and clayey soils on flats, slopes and rocky ridges, often where the ground has been disturbed. Neither of the subspecies is considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The young plants are palatable to game and stock (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Shearing and Van Heerden; 2008; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; http://redlist.sanbi.org).