The leaves of Galenia africana var. africana are opposite, narrowly linear and up to 2 cm long. Leaf margins tend to turn up slightly forming a channel and taper towards their tips. Slight fleshiness of the leaves and tiny hairs on the surfaces may be noted. Leaves are sessile or nearly so with tapering bases.
The common name of geelbos (yellow bush) indicates the older leaf colour when the initial green tends to yellow, matched by the colours of the soft, smooth branches and inflorescences. At the end of the dry season the shrub may even have a pale orange colour.
Another variety of the plant, G. africana var. secundata bearing shorter leaves commonly browsed by livestock, occurs in the northerly parts of the Karoo (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Shearing and Van Heerden, 2008; Vahrmeijer, 1981).