This species is from the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and is widespread in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is a small, shrubby plant with thin green stems bearing whitish-yellow spines, sometimes sparsely arranged along the stem. The flowers are small and yellow. The fruits tend to be fleshy, red, and persistent, earning this plant the name Christmas Cholla. These plants are rooted cuttings in 2-inch pots.