An erect plant, 1 to 3 feet high, often branching. Stem thick, smooth except the upper young portions which are slightly hairy, usually red. Leaves 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long, 1 to 2-1/2 inches wide, ovate, smooth on both surfaces, margin smooth, on leafstalk 1 to 3 inches long. Flowers in dense clusters, axillary and terminal, greenish; male and female flowers separate, each with 5 sepals, linear-oblong, with a short pointed tip, 1-veined; bracts less than twice the length of the sepals, broadly lanceolate at the base, tapering to a slender spine. Seeds small, oval, black (22).
Found in dry and in wet regions. A weed in cultivated areas.
Native to tropical America.
A prolific seeder.