Plants with hysteranthous leaves, solitary or clump-fom1ing, inflorescence up to 300 mm Tuber irregular in shape, stoloniferous, up to 30 mm and 20 mm wide; stolons up to 120 mm long and 4 mm diameter; skin brown, interior translucent-white; growing lateral. Old leaf sheaths up to 120 mm long, membranous, chestnut brown. Leaf solitary, erect; contemporary sheath exserted up to 55 mm, dark red, covered with patent white hairs; lamina variable in size and shape, in younger plants ovate-cordate and approximately 13 mm long and 9mm wide, in older plants becoming narrowly ovate to lanceolate, acuminate and up to 125 mm long and 17 mm wide; both surfaces dark green, glabrous, occasionally with a few hairs towards the base on the abaxial surface and the undulate margin. Peduncular bract exserted 2--4 mm, pinkish-red, attenuate, margin undulate. Peduncle up to 240 mm long, 0.5 mm diameter, wiry, reddish at the base, green above with faint red streaking, minute transparent cilia at the base. Raceme secund, lax, up to 170 mm long, with up to 20 flowers. Bracts 1.5 mm long, membranous, whitish with a faint brown midnerve. Pedicels 3--4 mm long, whitish to pale green. Flowers urceolate, up to9 mm long, with apices spreading to recurved, resembling a 6-point star, 9 mm in diameter; buds pointed. Tepals dimorphic, connate for more than 1 mm at the base, dull white externally with a faint green midnerve and suffused red streaking, inner surface translucent, with a shiny golden appearance; the outer tepals narrowly elliptic, 7 mm long, with a narrow attenuate apex about 3 mm long and margins folded inwards, the inner basally spathulate, 5 mm long, narrowing abruptly to an involute, fimbriate apex about 4 mm long. Filaments dimorphic, adnate to the tepals for 1.5 mm, very small, white; outer narrowly ovate, less than 1 mm long and wide, inner triangular, slightly longer; anthers deep purple. Copious nectar is produced at the base of the filaments. Ovary ovoid, 1.5 mm long, pale green with faint red spotting. Style 1.5 mm long, white.
The secund inflorescence with long pointed buds and flowers with unusually long tepals and small stamens clearly distinguish E. deserticolum. In the leafing stage it can usually be recognized by the clumps of varied sized leaves growing from stoloniferous tubers, and by the patent hairs on the contemporary leaf sheath.
E. deserticolum is comparatively common in northern Namaqualand. Outlying populations occur in the Richtersveld near Eksteenfontein and in southern Namaqualand near Nuwerus.
It grows in clumps usually in the shade of rocks or shrubs, on granite slopes or sandy gravel soils.
Flowering time:February to March. <br>Leafing period: March to October.