A medium- to large-sized species. Growing in carpets, occasionally extensive and usually very conspicuous. Colour is bright golden orange, yellow-brown or chestnut, but can be green. In the spring, after lengthy inundation, colour can be a dull, dirty green. Branches are mostly straight, short and fat, tapering to the tip and base. Branch leaves are conspicuously in straight lines, concave and pointed, those in the basal two-thirds of branches spreading at 45-. Stem colour is yellow-brown to brown, darker than the branch leaves. Stem leaves are triangular, pendent or spreading, with a distinct point or cusp at the tip. Capsules are unknown in Britain and Ireland.