Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, and Great Lakes region.
Habitat: Dry, open, often sandy soil.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Fleshy, prostrate perennials, forming mats 0.5-2 dm. tall; stems jointed, the sections nearly as thick as broad, obovoid to sub-globose, 2-5 cm. long.
Leaves scale-like, early-deciduous; the stem sections have several special cushions which bear white-woolly hair, a few yellowish bristles, and 2-7 straight, brownish spines 1-3 cm. long.
Flowers solitary on special cushions, yellow, 3-5 cm. long and broad; sepals many, imbricate, greenish; petals and stamens numerous, the filaments reddish; style 1, stigma lobed; ovary inferior, 1-celled.
Berry pear-shaped, dry, 1.5-2 cm. long, somewhat spiny.