The old Pleiospilos compactus plant grows long bare stems with only a few leaf pairs remaining at the tips. The stems show ridges representing earlier leaf pairs that came and went. The stems are sturdy enough for holding the succulent mass at the tips up off the ground, while branching adds new stems at ground level. In this way a plant may become large and old although exposed, especially where aided by the protection of its rocky nook.
The leaves fused at the base have deep keels and flat surfaces, the margins and keels bringing about a triangular shape in cross-section. The grey leaf surfaces are covered in a waxy layer.
This plant was seen at Bosch Luys Kloof northeast of the Seweweekspoort in the Karoo (Smith, et al, 1998).