The stalkless leaves of Cliffortia ruscifolia var. ruscifolia cluster densely, often on short side-shoots. A pair of small pointed stipules is present at each leaf-base.
The leaves are lanceolate to triangular in shape. They have straight, entire margins that are creamy white, the tips spiny. The margins are usually curved up, rendering the leaves channelled. Leaf blade colour is deep green, its texture stiff and leathery with hairs on the lower surfaces. Parallel whitish veins are sometimes visible on the surfaces. The leaf dimensions are about 15 mm long and 5 mm wide.
Like many other plants, C. ruscifolia develops galls, not to be mistaken for flowers or fruits. Galls are abnormal outgrowths of plant tissue, like benign tumours or warts in animals. The causes of these parasitic growths range from viruses, fungi, bacteria or other invading plants to insects and mites.
A gall may consist of a tight ball of much reduced leaves. In this case the tiny leaves are hidden in silvery white brush-like hair balls (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Manning, 2007; Le Roux, et al, 2005; Bean and Johns, 2005; Andrew, 2017; iNaturalist; Wikipedia; www.phillipskop.co.za).
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