Plants perennial or occasionally annual, 3-20 dm. Stems mostly prostrate with ascending branches, much-branched, gla-brous. Leaf blades linear to linear lanceolate or oblanceolate, 15-55 × 2-12 mm. Inflorescences: heads white or pinkish (drying silvery white), globose or cylindric, 7-30 × 7-10 mm; bracteoles slightly shorter than flowers. Flowers very short-pedicellate; tepals connate basally, white, oblong, dorsiventrally compressed, thickened basally, 3-5 mm, chartaceous, apex of outer tepals obtuse, apex of inner tepals acute, spinose-tipped, densely villose. Utricles indehiscent or splitting irregularly, included in tepals, 1.3 mm. Seeds 0.8-1 mm. Flowering year-round. Saline soils, sands of beaches, dunes, sand bars; 0-10 m; Fla., La., Tex.; Mexico; Central America.