Heat-loving, annual seed-propagated weed capable of growing as tall as 150 cm. It is regionally more common on moist, well-structured, nutrient-rich, sandy loam and sandy soils. The plant has become widespread in certain areas as a result of land set-aside.
Cotyledons lanceolate, very long coming to a point, , i.e., at least 10 times longer than wide (Picture 1). The lower true leaves are deeply lobed, and ovate or triangular in outline. The stem leaves usually have three to five leaflets with oblong-ovate, dentate sections (Picture 2). The flowers are brownish-yellow, approx. 1 cm wide, and occur singly on the ends of the numerous lateral branches (Picture 3). The seeds are smooth and hairless, compressed, with downward pointing spines on the sides and 2 longer, dentate (brownish-green) awns (Picture 4).