Pteranthus echinatus Desf.
10-15 cm tall, di or trichotomously branched, fleshy, somewhat papillose-hairy annual. Stem and branches jointed at nodes, with 3-9.5 mm long internodes, glabrous. Leaves somewhat fascicueate, sessile, basal obovate-spathulate, 943 mm long, 2-3 mm wide, cauline leaves linear-oblong, 8-18 mm long, fleshy, entire, obtuse, somewhat papillose-scabrous; stipules lanceolate, lacerate, 1.5-2.5 mm long, whitish membranous, persistent. Peduncle inflated, broadly obovate, swollen and hollow, 5-9 mm long, 4-6 mm wide (in W. Pakistan), minutely papillate-hairy, falling with the fruit. Flowers green, bracts minutely pubescent, 5-9 mm long, with spirally arranged, broadly membranous winged uncinate spines. Sepal slightly united at the base, 4-6 mm long, connivent, papillate-hairy, acu¬minate, 2 outer stiff, linear-oblong, dorsally keeled, with the acumen broadly winged, the 2 inner ovate-lanceolate, with membranous margins. Stamens with c. 2 mm long, filiform filaments; anthers ovoid-subglobose. Carpels 2, syncarpous; ovary ovoid-obovoid with filiform bifid style, stigmas 2, recurved. Fruit 1-seeded, somewhat compressed, indehiscent obovoid membranous utricle, c. 2.5 mm long and c. 1.5 mm wide, enclosed by persistent calyx and uncinate spiny processes of bracts. Seed obovoid-oblong, c. 2 mm long and c. 1 mm broad, compressed with membranous, smooth testa.
Fl . Per.: March-May.
Type: In desertis Kahirinis Orient. Forsskal (C).
Distribution: Rare in our area. North Africa, Sicily, Cyprus eastwards to West Pakistan (Baluchistan).
It is very closely related to North African, C. trigynus, which has 3 united carpels, trifid style and 3 stigmas.