GROWTH HABIT: Annual, erect, many stems. Blueish green in spring, turning yellow or red in fall. Reproduces by seed only.
LEAVES: Alternate, in bunches along the stem, fleshy, tube-like, ending abruptly and tipped with delicate needle-like spine. Tufts of cottony hairs at leaf attachment.
STEMS: Many branched from base, spreading then becoming erect, to 18 inches tall. Usually red in color.
FLOWER: Green, inconspicuous, born in leaf axil.
SEEDS: Two types: Black, which germinate during first growing season after produced and brown, which are dormant but viable for several years.
OTHER: Toxic to livestock, especially sheep, from high oxalate content.