Thick Pelargonium crithmifolium stems, branched near the base (but the plant single-stemmed) and sometimes again branching high up, show rounded bulges and spaced constrictions. They reflect the good and bad seasons experienced, the vicissitudes of a long life in a karoid world.
The upper stem parts grow thick and stubby from early on. The dark stem patches are possibly older bark, but may sometimes be lichen or occasionally fungal rust.
Leaves are only present near the stem-tips, leaving very little roughness or scars for only a short time when they disappear.
It's the other way round with inflorescences. Last season’s dry inflorescence branches are usually seen for long at the top of the plant. They brought the plant the Afrikaans name of doringkopmalva (thorn head pelargonium) (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Le Roux et al, 2005; iNaturalist).