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- Mature plants have a woody rootstock with many long creeping prostrate branches.
- Leaves alternate, 50 to 100 mm long, divided into 3 to 4 pairs of deeply toothed leaflets, upper surface dark- green and downy, lower surface paler green and silky with closely pressed hairs .
- Flowers green, whitish or slightly purplish, without petals in dense globular heads about 10 mm diameter, on the end of stalks 50 to 200 mm long, well above the leaves.
- Fruit is a swollen, brown, globular “burr”, 4 angled with a barbed spine 6 to 10 mm long at the tip of each angle.
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