The spiny tips on the pinnately cleft Heterorhachis aculeata leaf “lobes” emphasise the nature of these rigid, pale green leaf parts. The three spreading, straight spines near the leaf-tip taper gradually like very thin cones, all spine tips dry in picture.
The plant’s specific name, aculeata, is derived from the Latin word aculeus meaning sting, prickle or barb, the aculeate nature of the leaves clearly in evidence.
A few more than the three apical spines are present on some of the leaves, the others not all the same size or regular in position on the leaf; in fact, some are haphazardly placed like factory work done when the lights are out. The leaf parts are finely hairy, sometimes even cobwebby in their lower parts (Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; iNaturalist).