The genus Pleiospilos (N.E.
Br) is comprised of four species and four subspecies. The genus name is derived from
the greek words pleios (full) and spilos (dots), which refers to the many dots on the
plants. The plants are also known as kwaggavy (Quagga mesemb), lewerplant (liver
plant), lewervygie (liver mesemb), klipplant (stone plant) and split rock.
The plants may be compact or clustered. The branches have between one to four pairs of fleshy leaves (plants may be unbranched). Leaves are broad and rounded, fused at the base, grey-green to brownish in colour. The leaves are covered in a waxy layer which may flake.Flowers appear in autumn or winter. The large fragrant (cocoa suntan lotion) flowers open in mid-afternoon and close just after sunset. The flowers are borne on short pedicels and are yellow to coppery-orange, seldom white or pinkish, in colour, flowers are solitary or appear in clusters. Five to six sepals usually surround numerous petals (up to eight sepals can be present). Nine to fifteen stigmas are present, they are surrounded by ring-shaped nectar glands. The seeds pods are 9 - 15 locular, closing mechanisms and covering membranes present. Seeds are egg-shaped and dark brown in colour.
Plants are found mainly in the Little Karoo on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape, distribution extends to the southern-parts of the Great Karoo in the Northern Cape, P. comactus subsp. canus is found near Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State. Plants occur in shale or sandstone areas. The annual rainfall for this genus' distribution area is between 150mm and 300mm.