Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; south-central British Columbia to eastern Oregon, east to western and southern Idaho.
Habitat: From sagebrush plains and foothills to lower elevations in the mountains.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Fleshy perennials, forming rounded clumps 1-3 dm. tall, often spreading into mats several meters broad; stems jointed, the sections strongly flattened, obovate to sub-obicular in outline, 5-15 cm. long.
Leaves scale-like, early-deciduous; the stem sections have several special cushions which bear grayish-yellow wool, a few tawny bristles, and 5-11 straight, spines 1-5 cm. long.
Flowers solitary on special cushions, yellow, but sometimes reddish-tinged, 5-7 cm. long and broad; sepals many, imbricate, greenish, reddish tinged; petals and stamens numerous; style 1, stigma lobed; ovary inferior, 1-celled.
Berry dry, 2.5 cm. long, spiny.