Annual herb; stems ascending or prostrate, to 30 cm long, with nodal tufts of hairs. Leaves alternate; blade fleshy, terete or linear-cylindrical, 5-30 x 1-3 mm, obtuse, acute or acuminate at apex. Inflorescence a terminal cluster of 1-3 flowers, surrounded by long (2-3 mm) white or brownish hairs, and an involucre of 6-9(-12) leaves. Flowers to ca. 2.5 cm wide, often double (in horticulture); sepals unequal, deltoid-ovate, 6-10 x 6-8 mm, acute at apex; petals obovate, 1.5-2.5 x 1.5-2.5 cm, sometimes apically notched, whitish (wild), pink, salmon, purple, red or yellow, sometimes striped; stamens numerous, filaments filiform, to 7 mm long, anthers red, ca. 0.8 mm long; style to 1 cm long, stigmas ca. 10 through rebranching of style. Fruit conical, broadly ellipsoid or subglobose, 4-5 x 3-4.5 mm, circumscissile slightly below middle; seeds grey, tuberculate, metallic-iridescent.
Argentina present, French Guiana present, Guianas present, Guyana present, Southern America: Uruguay (Uruguay present), Suriname present
Argentina, Uruguay; large- and double-flowered forms are grown as ornamentals at the Botanic Gardens, Georgetown, Guyana, at the Esther Stichting near Paramaribo, and elsewhere (Ostendorf, 1962) in Suriname, and at the Jardin Botanique, Cayenne, French Guiana (DeFilipps, 1992); 15 collections studied, 3 from the Guianas (GU: 1; FG: 2).
English (French Guiana): chevalier de onze heures; English (Suriname): portulak, tienuursklokje