Jointed, red, fleshy annual to 40 cm, with opposed branching. Leaves reduced to a small membranous collar. Flowers minute, 3 in axillary cymes, hidden by the leaves.
Scarcely woody shrublet, erect rarely decumbent, up to 40 cm high; erect main branches up to 10 mm in diameter at the base, often twisted; secondary branches spreading and longer than the central stem. Barren segments cylindrical, faintly keeled or not keeled at the leaf apex, with lateral ridge, 5-15 mm long 2-3 mm in diameter, glaucous or green fading to deep bluish-red, then often shiny; leaf apex of young leaves slightly spreading when dried. Sclereids in the palisade tissue spirally thickened. Spikes terminal and lateral, (5-)10-30(-120) mm long, tapering when flowering, cylindrical when fruiting. Cymules 3-flowered; central flower acute or nearly so at its posterior apex; flowers protandrous. Perianth tube with three crenate segments, truncate with lateral shield. Anthers 2, 0-5-1 mm long. Stigmas tufted. Seeds compressed, oblong, 1-2 mm long, brown, with membranous testa covered with long seed hairs coiled at the apex; endosperm absent; embryo conduplicate.