Annuals, (5–) 14–20 (–30) cm tall, dark green, usually caespitose, ±robust, seldom one-stemmed. Basal leaves usually 2–8 cm long, c. 0.6–1.1 mm wide, flat to canaliculate. Cauline leaves usually 1–3, often equalling to exceeding inflorescence; auricles absent in leaves, some-times developed in lower bracts. Lower bracts leaf-like, long. Inflorescence usually constitutes only 1/3–2/5 of plant height, usually many–50-flowered, of several sickle-shaped cymes, in 2–6-flowered fan-shaped clusters. Bracteoles ovate, 1.5–2.5 mm long, scarious. Tepals broadly lanceolate, unequal. Outer tepals acute to acuminate, 4.9–7.5 mm long; central band pale green to stramineous; margins broad, membranous. Inner tepals c. 4.0–6.0 mm long, subobtuse to ±acute. Stamens 6, less than 1/2 as long as tepals; anthers 0.4–0.8 (–1.0) mm long; filaments c. 0.7–2.0 mm long; style 0.2–0.5 mm long; stigmas 0.5–1.0 mm long. Capsule oblong(–ovoid) to ±ellipsoid, subtrigonous, c. 3.5–4.5 mm long, slightly shorter than inner tepals, usually subacute, less often ±acute to obtuse. Seeds ±ovoid, 0.3–0.4 × 0.2–0.3 mm, almost smooth, very faintly reticulate; appendages absent. 2n = 34, fide S.Snogerup, in K.H.Rechinger, Fl. Iranica 75: 17 (1971); T.A.Cope & C.A.Stace, Watsonia 15: 311 (1985).
Flowers in 2–6-flowered clusters throughout; plants usually taller than (10–) 15 cm; outer tepals usually 5.0–7.5 mm long, distinctly (by c. 1 mm) longer than the inner tepals; seeds c. 0.3–0.4 mm long.
S Europe and the Mediterranean, Macaronesia, Turkey and the Near East (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan), Middle Asia; introduced to Britain, South Africa, W North America, South America and Australia, probably also in New Zealand. 10: grb. 12: BAL, COR, FRA, POR, SAR, SPA. 13: ALB, GRC, ITA, KRI, SIC, TUE, YUC. 20: ALG, EGY, LBY, MOR, TUN. 21: AZO, CNY, MDR. 27: cpp, nam. 32: TKM. 33: TCS. 34: AFG, IRN, IRQ, PAL, TUR. 50: nsw, soa, wau. 51: nzn? 76: cal. 85: ags, agw, clc.
12. BALEARES: Mallorca, Puerto de Soller, 11 Jun 1885, P.Porta & G.Rigo (PR). PORTUGAL: Algarve, Quinta do Lago, Townsend 89/88 (K). SARDEGNA: Tempio, Santa Teresa Gallura, E.Reverchon [Pl. Sard. 1881] 103 (P, PR).
13. GREECE: Naxos, C.Leonis [I.Dörfler, Fl. Aegea] 16 (PR). SICILIA: Porto Empedocle, R.K.Brummitt, Hunt & O.A.Leistner 5220 (K).
20. ALGERIA: Baniane, M’Chounech, A.H.G.Alston & D.Simpson 210 (BM). LIBYA: Tripolis, Tadqura, E.Vogel s.n. (P). TUNISIA: Maktar, 3 Jun 1896, S.Murbeck (LD).
34. IRAN: between Zahedan and Khash, 1300-1600 m, K.H.Rechinger 4260 (W). ISRAEL: Ain Hesban, 660 m, F.S.Meyers 957 & J.E.Dinsmore (L).
50. SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Adelaide, Grange, T.J.Smith 1045 (NSW). WESTERN AUSTRALIA: W of Northam, H.Salasoo 277 (NSW).
51. NEW ZEALAND: [without locality], J.D.Hooker (P).
85. URUGUAY: Montevideo, Carrasco, C.Osten 4683 (NSW).
Wet or temporarily wet open ground usually on subsaline soils.