Plant is an upright, much branched perennial with reddish,
spiny stems. Preferred habitat is waste places, disturbed grounds
and cultivated soil. Distribution is throughout the Escambia
Leaves are 2-6 inches long; egg-shaped to lance-like with
a pair of rigid spines in each leaf axil; mealy green; prominent
Flowers are in a spike at the end of the stem; male flowers
mostly in slender spikes and female in dense clusters; globular;
intermingled with bristly bracts that are as long as the sepals.
Flowers occur in the summer.
Fruit is a nutlet.
The plant, though regarded as common weeds, produce tremendous
numbers of seeds, and are a important food for many songbirds.
The family is made up mostly of herbs with inconspicuous
flowers, usually in spike-like or head-like clusters, often with
bristly bracts and vicious thorns