By April in a dry year the leaves of this Psilocaulon junceum plant were no more. Dry husks, a little like deflated balloons that became petrified or frozen, they forgot to drop off as the short-lived P. junceum leaves often do.
The leaves had grown opposite, the joints at the nodes lined with dry leaf base remains. These conspicuous nodes gave the plant one of its common names, the Afrikaans litjiesbos (little joints bush). The short stem that had grown from the leaf axil at the node is surviving although its tip is desiccated; probably to have another stab at venturing upwards next season.
The stems are bare, but not all smooth as the generic name, Psilocaulon indicates; psilo- meaning bare or smooth in Greek; -caulon means stem, from the Greek kaulos with the same meaning.
The faint wrinkling on the stem on the left may be drought related. The whitish green on the stems helps to reflect some of the sunlight, thereby reducing the heat absorption in the plant. The modicum of green indicates that the living processes are continuing (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010).