Acaulescent succulent, forming clumps. Leaves soft, fleshy, spineless. Flowers white.
Plants acaulescent, with leaves in a basal rosette, 50-150 mm diam., proliferous from the base and forming clusters. Leaves about 30, the young erect, incurved, tender, the old ascending-spreading, incurved, about 1 cm to 5 cm long, about 1 cm to 5 cm broad, to 8 mm thick, ovate, acute, glabrous, green to creamy-white, pale to deep pink, nearly pellucid; upper surface flat or concave, smooth, pellucid to semi-pellucid, with numerous tessellately connected green or reddish-brown lines; lower surface convex, smooth, pellucid to semi-pellucid, with numerous tessellate connected green or reddish-brown lines; keel 1, in the upper third, centrally positioned, smooth or finely dentate; margins rounded, smooth, or with 0.5 mm long pellucid teeth; end-awn up to 3 mm long, smooth. Inflorescence about 22 cm tall; peduncle simple, terete, about 1 mm diam., 11 cm long, yellow-green, bracteate; sterile bracts membranous, ovate, abruptly long acuminate, about 4 cm long, erect, keeled; raceme about 10 cm long, lax, with about 12 spirally arranged flowers and buds 2 open simultaneously, floral bracts membranous, 4 mm long, deltoid acute, keeled with fine reddish veins, clasping the pedicels, (shorter than the pedicels); pedicels 5 mm long, 1.25 mm diam., light green, erect; perianth white with brownish-green keels to the segments, 15 mm long, compressed at base, funnel-shaped, tube more or less 4 mm across, constricted to 3 mm above; segments free to the base, limb 2 lipped; posterior segments with lobes free, erect, spreading, pinkish-white with brown veins; exterior part recurved, spreading, pinkish-white with brown veins; stamens 6 of two lengths, 6 and 7 mm long, inserted within the perianth tube; ovary 2 mm long, 1.75 mm diam., green; style 1 mm long, curved, capitate.
This species grows at altitudes of between 250 and 400 m. The annual rainfall over its distribution area varies from about 250 mm to more than 500 mm during the summer months. The climate is mostly temperate but in some areas the winters are cold. This species is river loving, the plants occurring as large and small clusters on cliffs, rock-faces, in exposed positions, or under low scrub on hilly slopes along river courses in the Border area or other localities in the eastern Cape Province. It favours a northern aspect but occasionally populations are observed growing on a southern aspect. H. cymbiformis grows in soil with pH 6.7.