Fruit c. 3–3.5 mm. long; seed 2.75–3 mm. long, brown, shining, faintly reticulate.
Stamens finally 8–9 mm. long; anthers narrowly oblong, c. 2 mm. long.
Ovary oblong, c. 2 mm. long; style 4–5.5 mm. long, with short to very short stigmatal branches.
Outer tepal of fertile flowers c. 6.58 mm. long, oblong, 5–7-nerved, firm below and narrowly hyaline-margined above, slightly lanate dorsally near the base; remaining 4 tepals rapidly narrowing and more pilose, the innermost very narrowly lanceolate, densely lanate except about the apex, with only one faint pair of lateral nerves; all tepals with the midrib ceasing below the apex or only very shortly mucronate.
Sterile flowers of a single spine becoming to c. 4–5 mm. long in fruit, swollen and more or less lanate at the base.
Bracteoles of the sterile flowers c. 5–6 mm. long, ovate, the midrib ceasing below the blunt, hyaline apex or excurrent dorsally below the apex in a short or longer rigid arista.
Perennial herb, woody at the base, 15–60 cm. tall with numerous stems from the base and usually a few opposite (rarely alternate by suppression) branches diverging at 30–45 degrees above.
Bracteoles of the partial inflorescences broadly deltoid-ovate, 4–5 mm. long, very concave and more or less carinate with the prominent darker midrib, which is not excurrent or very shortly so on the dorsal surface below the apex.
Bracts deltoid-ovate, scarious-margined with a firm centre, glabrous or thinly pilose, 3.5–4.5 mm. long, shortly mucronate with the excurrent midrib.
Inflorescence crimson, capitate to shortly cylindrical, 1–4 × 1.5–1.75 cm. but elongating to as much as 8.5 cm. in fruit, the axis thinly to moderately white-pilose, more or less sulcate, formed of closely set partial inflorescences.
Stem and branches terete, glabrous or thinly pilose (especially about the nodes).
Leaves broadly linear to narrowly oblong, 13·40 × 3–9 mm., somewhat crisped-margined, acute to obtuse, mucronate, glabrous or thinly pilose (especially on the lower surface of younger leaves), sessile or abruptly narrowed (and in broader leaves subauriculate) into a very short petiole, often darkening on drying and commonly with fasciculiform axillary short shoots.