Herbs annual, erect or ascending, 10-50 cm tall. Stem branched from or near base, glabrous or obscurely pubescent. Petiole 2-10 mm; leaf blade obovate, oblong, or linear, 1.5-6.5 mm × 0.3-2.5 cm, both surfaces glabrous or adaxially pubescent, base attenuate, apex acute or obtuse, with a mucro. Heads globose, becoming somewhat lengthened, with 3-7-flowered cymes; rachis 0.2-3.5 cm, glabrous or pubescent. Bracts and bracteoles ovate-lanceolate, 3-5 mm, white on margin and with green or purple (?red) midvein, apex long acuminate. Tepals obliquely spreading at anthesis, later erect, ovate-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 4-5 mm. Stamens 5; filaments connate at base. Ovary ovoid, glabrous; style nearly as long as filaments. Utricles enclosed in persistent perianth, pale green, ovoid, 3-3.5 mm in diam., dehiscent by lid. Seeds 1.5-2 mm in diam. Fl. May-Jun, fr. Jul-Aug. 2n = 32.
Erect, prostrate or ascending annual up to 80 cm, branching from the base, glabrous or finely pubescent. Leaves linear to oblong-ovate or spathulate, narrowed to the ± winged petiole, apex acute-acuminate, mucronate or sometimes obtuse; upper surface glabrous, flower finely pubescent; 2.6 by 0.5–2.5 cm; petiole up to 1 cm. Inflorescences of ovoid to globular heads 1–2 cm long, often lengthening after anthesis; peduncle 1–35 mm. Single cymes 2–7-flowered. Bracts and bracteoles ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, 2–4 mm long with green or purple midrib, margins white. Flowers bisexual. Tepals scarious, similar to the bracts but longer, 5–7 mm. Stamens shorter than perianth, staminal cup 2 mm high. Ovary ovoid, style longer than stamens. Fruit ovoid, surrounded by the persistent perianth, opening below the middle, ca 3.5 mm. Seeds lenticular, arillate, black, glossy.
Along sandy shores, but also as a weed in fields and along roadsides at low altitudes.
Widespread in tropical Asia.