Herbs, annual, ± densely pubescent. Stems erect, semierect, ascending, or prostrate, branched or simple, not jointed, not armed, not fleshy. Leaves alternate, sessile (or sometimes narrowed to pseudopetiole); blade linear, lanceolate, or lanceolate-elliptic, flat or semiterete (semicylindric in transverse section; ± fleshy), base cuneate, margins entire, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescences terminal spikes, flowers [1-]2-3 in axils. Flowers bisexual, sessile, ebracteolate; perianth segments 5, ± hirsute or pubescent, rarely glabrous, at maturity with spiniform, hooked, or conic appendages; stamens 5; styles and stigmas 2(-3). Fruiting structures: fruiting bracts absent; achenes ovate-compressed; pericarp free, membranous. Seeds horizontal, lenticular; seed coat brownish, smooth; embryo annular; perisperm copious. x = 9.
Herbs annual. Leaves alternate, sessile, linear to lanceolate, complanate, semiterete, or terete, membranous or fleshy, densely hairy. Flowers solitary or forming a spike, sessile, without bracts or bractlets, bisexual. Perianth discoid, 5-lobed, hairy; segments equal; abaxial appendages uncinate, subulate, or triangular in fruit. Stamens 5. Ovary broadly ovoid; style short; stigmas 2 or 3. Utricle depressed ovoid; pericarp membranous, free from seed. Seed horizontal, depressed globose; embryo annular.
"Fls perfect, solitary or in short spikes from the upper axils, forming terminal spikes or spike-like panicles; sep 5, pubescent, incurved in fl, persistent and incurved over the fr, and developing dorsal appendages; stamens 5; ovary depressed-globose; styles filiform; seed horizontal, the embryo annular; shrubs or annual herbs with much-branched stems, numerous small, hairy lvs, and minute fls, villous at least in the infl. 20, Old World."
|[For F. Bassi, 1710-1774, Italian naturalist]|