Plants generally remain low, produce a mound, or grow to about 60 cm in height. Stems are thick and succulent, much branched, and root at the lower nodes. Foliage has stiff hairs appressed to the surface. Stems are freely branched, 20-60 cm tall, green to reddish brown or purplish. Lower nodes of stems frequently produce roots. Leaves and stems have a rough feel due to stiff oppressed hairs.
Seedling: Cotyledons (<1 cm long and 1.5-2 times as long as wide) are smooth, slightly thickened, and oval, tapering to a short petiole. Young leaves are opposite; the first 3-4 are hairy at the base of the upper surface and the underside. Subsequent leaves have short oppressed hairs on both surfaces. Leaves of young plants are ovate to oblong, becoming lanceolate or elliptic with age. Leaves have short teeth on the margins that point toward the leaf apex. Blades are green; mid-veins are yellow-green on the upper surface and light green on the lower surface. Petioles are about one-fifth the length of the leaf. Stems branch at the base and become reddish with age.
Mature Plant: Stems are feely branched, 20-60 cm tall, green to reddish brown or purplish. Lower nodes of stems often produce roots. Stiff oppressed hairs give leaves and stems a rough feel. Leaves are sessile (or with a short petiole), opposite, narrow to the base, lanceolate or lance-elliptic to lance-linear. Margins have conspicuous widely spaced teeth.
Flower Seed Head:
Flowers are produced from August to October, are arranged in small composite heads, alone or in clusters of 2-3 on 0.5-4 cm long stalks at the end of stems or in leaf axils. Heads are 1.5-8 mm in diameter and composed of small whitish ray flowers (1-2 mm long) surrounding greenish to dusky white disk flowers.
Propagation is by seed; seeds germinate in late spring or early summer when soil temperatures are warm. Heads of ripening fruit are green and button-like. The seed is enclosed within a 1.8-2.5 mm long achene that is 3- to 4-angled, roughly triangular, tapered to the base, and truncated at the apex. Some flower heads produce straw-colored seeds with a wrinkled or warty surface; others are dark gray to black, flattened, and smooth.