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Known by the common name of blow wives, this annual can attain a height of three to 40 centimeters. The erect stem is erect and generally few-branched; the sessile leaves are simple, with lower ones opposite and fused around the stem; upper leaves are alternate. The linear of obtuse leaf blades are two to twelve centimeters long. Inflorescence is soft-hairy with radiate heads. Fruits are fine and slender, easily detached by wind when ripe, leading to a dazzling display of lightweight airborne fluff.