Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
DescriptionThis introduced annual plant forms a spreading mat up to 6" tall and 2' across, branching frequently at the base. The stems are round, thick, and succulent. They range in color from light green to reddish brown. The leaves are alternate or nearly opposite and sessile along the stems. They are up to 1" long and ½" across, obovate or oblong, glabrous, and smooth along the margins. Like the stems, the leaves are rather thick and succulent. They are usually shiny green, sometimes becoming reddish purple in bright sunlight. There is a tendency for the leaves to cluster toward the apex of the stems. The yellow flowers occur singly or in small terminal clusters. When fully open, each flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 5 yellow petals, 2 green sepals, numerous yellow stamens, and several pistils that are bunched together in the center of the flower. These flowers have floppy petals that open up for a few hours during bright sunny mornings. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer through the early fall and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open around the middle to release the numerous small seeds. Each seed is dark brown or black, somewhat flattened, and nearly round or kidney-shaped. The surface is granular, appearing somewhat coiled. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant can spread by reseeding itself, or vegetatively, as the broken-off stems can form rootlets to establish new plantlets.