Glottiphyllum nelii grows characteristically keeled leaves positioned in two opposing rows with distinct soft, succulent edges.
Flowering happens in autumn.
Note the difference between G. nelii depicted here and G. neilii, another member of the genus found more to the north beyond the Swartberg range. G. neilii, in Afrikaans commonly known as vet skilpadkos (fat tortoise food ) has purple-green leaves and grows in exposed sandstone areas
The species distribution is in the Little Karoo near Oudtshoorn as well as in the southern parts of the Great Karoo into the Eastern Cape.
The habitat is karoid scrub. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Van Jaarsveld, et al, 2006; http://redlist.sanbi.org).