Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 26: 228 (1899)
Annual herb, usually densely tufted, but occasionally a single, few-leaved, complantae tuft. Stem unbranched or branched, erect, 2-angled, 5–20 cm high, c. 1–1.5 mm wide. Leaves linear, 2–6 cm long, 1–3 mm wide. Primary bracts ovate to lanceolate; outer primary bract 1.8–3 cm long; inner primary bract 1.5–2.3 cm long. Perianth 5–7 mm diam., colour variable, pale yellow with brown-purple markings in throat, or lilac to mauve with a purple throat throat, yellow within the tube, usually glandular-pilose externally; lobes oblong-acuminate; staminal filaments 1–1.5 mm long, the lower two-thirds united; anthers up to 1 mm long; ovary c. 1 mm diam., usually glandular-pilose. Capsule 2–3(–)4 mm diam., green to reddish; seeds globose, c. 0.7 mm diam., rugose, black. Flowers Oct.–Jan.(–Mar.).
Also naturalised ?WA, Qld, NSW, LHI, NI, ACT. Native to South America. A locally common weed in southern Victoria, occurring in nature-strips, and pasture, or sometimes native grasslands in winter-wet sites.
Although seldom grazed, it is reputed to be toxic to stock.