in C. Backeberg and F. M. Knuth, Kaktus-ABC, 124. 1935.
Shrubs, densely branched, 0.2–0.6 m; roots with elongate, tuberlike swellings. Stem segments easily detached, whorled, obscuring trunks, light green, 4–6 × 0.8–1.2 cm; tubercles prominent, 1–2 cm; areoles subcircular, 2–3.5 mm in diam.; wool tan. Spines 7–13 (–21) per areole, at most areoles, spreading, obscuring stems, yellow to redbrown to nearly black, tipped yellow, subterete to angularly flattened, the longest 1.5–5 cm; sheaths loose fitting, ± yellow to tan, 1.5–2 mm diam. Glochids in adaxial tuft, yellow, 2–4 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow-green, tinged purple-red, aging reddish-brown or bronze, spatulate, 15 mm, apiculate; filaments pale green basally to purplish distally; anthers orange-yellow; style cream to pale green, sometimes faint purple-pink distally; stigma lobes very pale green. Fruits usually sterile, often in chains of 2, yellow, top-shaped, 20–30 × 10–20 mm, pulpy, tuberculate, spineless (rarely few-spined); tubercles subequal; umbilicus 5–8 mm deep; areoles 20–35. Seeds, when present, yellow-tan, subcircular, flattened, 3 mm diam., sides smooth; girdle narrow, not protruding. 2n = 22, 44 (one count).
Phenology: Flowering late spring (May–Jun).
Habitat: Grasslands, oak-juniper-mesquite woodlands, plains or slopes, sandy to loamy soils
Elevation: 600-1500 m
N.Mex., Okla., Tex.