Crassula nudicaulis is a perennial succulent herb with a thickened taproot and several low rosettes of basal leaves. Plants are somewhat variable in appearance and there are several subspecies over the plant's wide range. The leaves of this species can turn brown, but they do not adopt the brick red hues sometimes taken on by Crassula subacaulis and Crassula clavata. The inflorescence is a spike, with bracts that are not ciliate; the lowest one to three pairs of bracts have no flowers in the axils but the others do. The flowers are turned upwards, they have yellow anthers and distinctive dorsal appendages. This species is closely related to Crassula cotyledonis, which is a more robust species that has marginal leaf-hair in more than one line. It can also be confused with Crassula clavata, but that species has glabrous (smooth), oblanceolate-obovate leaves that turn deep purple-red in the sun.