Hertia alata is a single-stemmed, short-lived shrublet reaching 35 cm to 1 m in height.
A few flowerheads grow stalked from upper leaf axils where the leaves turn pale yellow and the flowerhead-bearing stem-tips droop. Each cup-shaped, green involucre consists of a single row of broad, smooth bracts joined at the base.
A cluster of small, yellow disc florets, tubular and ending in five lobes, is grown in a head without ray florets. The marginal disc florets are female, the central ones male. Styles tipped with stigmas are exserted from the female florets, anther-tipped stamens from the male ones. The head is about 5 mm in diameter.
Flowering happens from before midspring until after midautumn, probably more in summer.
The fruits are about oblong and hairy. There is a many-bristled pappus present on each single-seeded fruit.
The species distribution is mainly in the Western Cape, the Little Karoo on the Swartberg Mountains, part of the Langeberg Mountains, eastwards to Uniondale and slightly into the west of the Eastern Cape. The photo was taken on the Gamka Mountain.
The habitat is montane fynbos and renosterveld in clay soils, often on rocky ridges. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The plant is rarely browsed. It tends to proliferate where the soil is disturbed and the veld poorly managed (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; iNaturalist; http://redlist.sanbi.org).