Herbs, monoecious, erect or ascending, branched from base or rarely simple, 0.5-8(-100) dm; proximal branches mostly elongated and often prostrate. Leaves alternate, except the proximal-most; petiole 0.5-1.5(-2) cm; blade green on both sides, ovate to oblong or lanceolate to oblong, deltoid-oblong, or linear, 9-100 × 1-50 mm, base mostly rounded to tapering or more rarely broadly cuneate from a hastate base, margin entire or repand denticulate, apex acute or acuminate or more rarely obtuse, glabrous or nearly so. Flowers glomerate in rather loose, spiciform inflorescences, and in axillary clusters; staminate ones 4-5-merous. Fruiting bracteoles darkening at maturity, sessile or stipitate, ovate or oblong to orbiculate, longest ones strap-shaped or ovate-lanceolate, mainly 4-10 mm, distinct nearly to base, margin entire or with (1 or) 2 or more teeth, apex acuminate to acute, often bulging on both sides of the impressed midnerve, at first mealy, finally glabrate. Seeds dimorphic: some small, black (lacking- in var. alaskensis), convex, 1.5-2 mm wide, lustrous, others pale brown, flat, 1.5-3.5 mm wide; radicle inferior or subascending. 2n = 54.