This species of spiny cacti from the Cactaceae family has an erect growth habit and is commonly known by the names spiny hedgehog cactus or Texas rainbow cactus. This is due to the contrasting colour bands on the stem. Adapted to rocky environments in mountainous areas, this species is well suited to planting in a rock garden. It produces attractive, funnel-shaped, showy yellow flowers. Spines typically overlap, obscuring the stem and these spines vary significantly in colour and length.