Shrubs, forming clumps, 10-20 cm. Roots tuberlike, 7-10 × 3.5-5(-7.5) cm. Stem segments cylindric to ellipsoid, clavate, 1-4(-10) × 0.5-1.2(-2.5) cm; tubercles rather prominent, 5-9 mm; areoles 1-2 mm in diam.; wool white to gray. Spines 8-15 per areole, mostly in distal areoles, divergent to deflexed, red-brown or white, aging gray, flattened, longest to 6 cm. Glochids adaxial in areole, yellow to reddish yellow, to 8 mm, barbed. Flowers: inner tepals rose to purple, 15-25 mm; filaments green to yellow; style purplish; stigma lobes white to yellowish. Fruits reportedly reddish, obconic, 15-30 × 8-12 mm, fleshy, smooth; spines hairlike, flexible, antrorsely barbed; areoles ± 50. Seeds whitish, 3-6 mm broad. 2n = 22. Flowering late spring (May-Jul). Mojave Desert, Great Plains, sandy to rocky flats or slopes, often at edges of dry washes and lakes; 1200-1900 m; Calif., Nev., Utah. Reports of Grusoniapulchella in Arizona (L. D. Benson 1969, 1982; J. Lode 1993) are undocumented (B. D. Parfitt 1988) or lack adequate specimens. Those reports resulted either from locality data errors or confusion with G. parishii or Cylindropuntia whipplei.
PLANT: Clump-formers, low, much-branched, 10-20 cm tall; from tuberous roots, 7-10 cm long, 3.5-5(-7.5) cm in diam. STEM: segments cylindric to ellipsoid, clavate, 1-4(-10) cm long, 0.5-1.2(-2.5) cm in diam.; tubercles rather prominent, 5-9 mm long. AREOLES: white- to gray-felty, subcircular, 1-2 mm in diam. SPINES: mostly in distal areoles, red-brown to white, aging gray, 8-15 per areole, divergent to deflexed, flattened, the largest to 6 cm long. GLOCHIDS: yellow to reddish yellow, distal in areole, to 8 mm long, barbed. FLOWER: inner tepals rose to purple, 1.5-2.5 cm long; filaments green to yellow; anthers yellow; style purplish; stigmas white to yellowish. FRUIT: reportedly reddish, obconic, smooth, fleshy, 1.5-3 cm long, 0.8-1.2 cm in diam., with soft, antrorsely barbed spines; areoles ca. 50. SEEDS: reportedly 3-6 mm broad. 2n = 22. [ NOTES: Mohave Desert, sandy to stony flats or slopes, often at edges of dry washes and lakes; 1500-1700 m (4900-5500 ft); May-Jul); areas of CA, NV, UT adjacent to AZ. Arizona reports of not only G. pulchella but also G. clavata (Engelm.) H. Robinson known only from New Mexico (Benson 1969,1982; Lode 1993) are not documented (Parfitt 1988) with adequate specimens and have resulted from locality data errors and/or confusion with G. parishii or the cholla, Cylindropuntia whipplei (Engelm. & J. M. Bigelow) Knuth. REFERENCES: Pinkava, Donald J. 1999. Cactaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).