Stapeliopsis saxatilis grows succulent stems that are partly underground, needing sunlight but only so much of it. The thick, four-angled stems have smooth blades and small teeth along the angled margins.
The dark purple to brown flowers are smooth on the outside, very hairy inside. The rounded corolla is closed by the lobe tips being attached at their tips. Pollinators have to enter via fissures between these lobes and are sometimes caught inside, causing a scramble that ensures maximum chances for pollen being picked up or dropped off.
These small plants grow in stony, dry Karoo landscape, known around Laingsburg to the Eastern Cape Karoo where they may easily be missed in the veld (White and Sloane, 1937; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; iNaturalist).