Phytologia 26: 176. 1973.
Shrubs, forming clumps, 10–20 cm. Roots tuberlike, 7–10 × 3.5–5 (–7.5) cm. Stem segments cylindric to ellipsoid, clavate, 1–4 (–10) × 0.5–1.2 (–2.5) cm; tubercles rather prominent, 5–9 mm; areoles 1–2 mm in diam.; wool white to gray. Spines 8–15 per areole, mostly in distal areoles, divergent to deflexed, redbrown or white, aging gray, flattened, longest to 6 cm. Glochids adaxial in areole, yellow to reddish yellow, to 8 mm, barbed. Flowers: inner tepals rose to purple, 15–25 mm; filaments green to yellow; style purplish; stigma lobes white to yellowish. Fruits reportedly reddish, obconic, 15–30 8–12 mm, fleshy, smooth; spines hairlike, flexible, antrorsely barbed; areoles ± 50. Seeds whitish, 3–6 mm broad. 2n = 22.
Phenology: Flowering late spring (May–Jul).
Habitat: Mojave Desert, Great Plains, sandy to rocky flats or slopes, often at edges of dry washes and lakes
Elevation: 1200-1900 m
Calif., Nev., Utah.
Reports of Grusonia pulchella in Arizona (L. D. Benson 1969, 1982; J. Lode 1993) are undocumented (B. D. Parfitt 1988) or lack adequate specimens. Those reports resulted either from locality data errors or confusion with G. parishii or Cylindropuntia whipplei.