This low, spreading cactus with short bristles grows 6 to 12 inches high and up to 6 feet wide. The gray-green, jointed stems are wide and flat resembling the tail of a beaver.
Oval in shape, the stems are 1 to 6 inches wide and 2 to 13 inches long. The stems grow in clumps with flowers from the top edge of the joints. Flowers are followed by a brownish-gray, oval fruit more than an inch long with many seeds.
Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southwestern Utah and western Arizona.
Dry, rocky desert slopes.
Brilliant red-to-lavender flowers 2 to 3 inches wide with many petals bloom March to June.
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