Stems procumbent to erect, infrequently prostrate, green, often becoming red or purple, especially at apex of segments, around flowers, and at sepal tips, simple or with primary and secondary branches, rarely with tertiary branches except when damaged, 5-26 cm, ultimate branches usually short; leaf and bract apices obtuse to subacute, not mucronate. Spikes ± torulose, 0.7-5 cm, with (3-)5-10(-14) fertile segments; bracts covering only base of cymes. Fertile segments (2d-4th in main spikes) 2.9-5.2 × 2.4-4(-4.3) mm, usually slightly longer than wide, widest distally, margins 0.2-0.3 mm wide, scarious. Central flowers semicircular distally, 1.5-2.6 × 1.4-2.4 mm, usually longer than wide, usually larger than lateral flowers and not reaching top of segment; anthers commonly not exserted, (0.1-)0.2-0.3 mm, usually dehiscing within flowers. 2n = 18.