Annual herb, simple or sometimes quite bushy, 10-60 cm. Leaves ovate or elliptic, sharply and coarsely dentate, obtuse to shortly acuminate. Monoecious. Spikes dense, to c. 1 cm, axillary, congested above but lower remote, male and female flowers numerous. Female flowers with inner pair of perianth segments accrescent in fruit, pilose around margins, ± glabrous centrally, cordate-ovate, c. 2 mm. Fl. 4·6. Waste ground, nr. s.l.-c.1000 m.
Europe, N. Africa, S.W. Asia; widely adventive as a weed in many other regions.