is a solitary, fiercely spined cacti with variable spine size and white
wool on top.
Stem: Globose, 8 to 15 or more cm in diameter and tall ( in
cultivation it is subglobose to elongate and may slowly reach an height
of 20 or more cm) Dark green, tan to grey-purple tinged stem.
Up to 15 cm in diameter.
Root: Conical taproot.
notched, forming tubercles with sunken
Spines: Juvenile specimens have only few
spines, but the numbers increase as they get older, and areoles can have
over 20 spines on mature specimens. They are straight or curved, dark
brown to black, soon becoming chalky-white or greyish,
Radial spines: 6 to12, 3 to 20 mm long.
Central spines: 6 to12, 20 to 40 mm long.
Flowers: From apical areoles, narrow
or funnel-shaped, about 3 cm in diameter. The colour comprises
red, fuchsia, pink, creamy white and yellowish. Floral tube with
abundant white wool and twisted bristles. There might
be over 50 flowers on a mature specimen (only mature specimens bloom).
Fruits: Reddish, elongate, opening by a basal pore.
subspecies, varieties and forms:
This taxon is characterized by straight spines and red, pink, cream or
whitish blooms and comprises two variety: var. taltalensis
with red or cream flowers and var. pygmaea with white or
Is has usually bi coloured flowers white below fuchsia or red above
and comprises two variety: var. echinus with stems
having short apical wool and var. floccosa with apexes
covered by long wool.
It is the larger form with often elongated stems, the flowers are
yellow to red.
- subsp. pilispina:
Has thin twisted spines and white flowers.