This species grows in pure sand on the shore, its pinkish stems, with small, narrow, opposite leaves, slightly heart-shaped at base, acute at apex, with cut or fringed stipules, spreading carpet-like, on the ground. The roots pull lightly up. If a branch or single leaf is broken off, a thick, milky juice exudes from the wound. The flowers are small, greenish, appearing in July. 3 to 10 inches long.

The euphorbias are all poisonous. Nuttall says, "In the deserts of Africa they only tend, as it were, to augment the surrounding scenes of desolation; leafless, bitter, thorny, poisonous, they seem to deny food to every animated being."