Description from Flora of China
Subshrubs 20-80 cm tall. Woody stem usually less than 10 cm; annual branches simple or branched, not striate, slightly ribbed, densely light yellow-brown, light reddish, or gray-white pilose, densely white crisped pilose, or subglabrous. Leaves alternate, usually clustered on dwarf, axillary branchlets, sessile, linear, semiterete, 0.8-2 cm × 1-1.5 mm, spreading sericeous or densely appressed sericeous on both surfaces, base shortly attenuate, apex obtuse or acute; veins obscure. Flowers bisexual and female, usually 2 or 3 per glomerule, these arranged in spikes on upper part of annual branches. Perianth globose, densely sericeous; segments ovate or oblong, incurved, apex obtuse; winglike appendages with purple-red or black-brown veins, flabellate or obovate, membranous, margin irregularly crenate or erose. Filaments filiform, slightly exserted. Stigmas 2, purple-brown, filiform. Utricle depressed globose; pericarp gray-brown, thickly membranous. Seed black-brown, subglobose, ca. 1.5 mm in diam. Fl. Jul-Aug, fr. Aug-Sep.
Kochia prostrata is a very variable species. Several infraspecific taxa have been described, differing mostly in pubescence and some other minor characters, probably environmentally affected, but partly also dependent on geographic and karyological races. No consensus of infraspecific taxonomy is currently available for this species. The following varieties have been reported from China.
The species provides good fodder for animals.
Slopes, sandy places, valleys, Gobi desert, deserts. W Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Xinjiang, Xizang [C and SW Asia, S Europe].