Cycloloma atriplicifolium is an annual, C3 herb (Jacobs 2001), a tumble-weed, 10-80 cm tall, much branched, young plants hairy.
Leaves alternate, lower blades to 8 cm long, reduced above, pale gray-green, lance-shaped, margin with shallow, pointed lobes or large teeth, soon deciduous.
Flowers green, tiny, styles 3 (usually), calyx 5-lobed, lobes keeled, persistent, curving over and surrounding fruit; inflorescence of interrupted terminal spikes 2-6 cm long.
Fruit dry, disc-shaped, 0.3-0.4 cm wide, green or purple, inner disk with 5 wedge-shaped parts, surrounded by persistent calyx and a pale, membranous, frilled wing; seeds 0.1 cm. Apparently drying, breaking off near base, seeds dispersed as plant is blown about on open ground.
Wetland status: FACU-.
Frequency in NYC: Occasional.
Origin: Midwestern US.
Habitat: Open, sandy soil or fill, disturbed areas, beach dunes.