Stems are arranged in clumps, smooth and hairless, grow up to 1m tall and contain a milky latex. Leaves are numerous and attached directly to the stem, arranged alternately or sometimes spirally. The leaves are up to 7 cm long, narrow, waxy, have smooth edges and are bluish-green in color, turning yellowish or reddish-orange in late summer. Flowers are small, yellowish green, lack both petals and sepals, and are supported by 2 green, heart-shaped, leaf-like bracts, arranged in numerous small clusters. Seeds are about 2mm, smooth, oblong,
light gray to dark brown in color and grow in pods on top of the bracts. When mature the dried seed pods explode, distributing seed as far as 5 m from the parent plant.