Growth Habit: Annual plant with many stems. Blueish-green in the spring, and turning yellow or red in the fall. Reproduces by seed only.
Leaves: Alternate, in bunches along the stem. Fleshy, tube-like, and ending abruptly. Tipped with delicate, needle-like spine. Tufts of cottony hairs where leaves attach to the stem.
Stems: Many, branched from base where they spread and become erect. Up to 18 inches tall. Usually red in color.
Flower: Green and inconspicuous. Born in leaf axil.
Seeds: Two types: Black, which germinate during the first growing season after produced. Brown, with are dormant, but viable for several years.
Other: Toxic to livestock, especially sheep, from high oxalate content.