Honckenya peploides is a small, subdioecious, spreading plant, forming patches on sand and shingle above the high water mark of beaches. The stem is branching and buried in the sand. The leaves grow in opposite pairs and are fleshy with membranous margins, pale yellowish-green and ovate, oblong or lanceolate, usually with pointed tips. The flowers are often dioecious and have parts in fives. They grow in the upper leaf axils and have ovate to lanceolate sepals, greenish-white petals of about the same length, and three styles. The fruit is a capsule larger than the sepals and superficially resembling a pea.