Low-growing plant with ± prostrate stems. Segments mostly 2–4 cm wide, 4–10 cm long, ultimate segments usually compressed, sometimes rounded under moist conditions, stems ± terete.
Leaves 3–4 mm long, falling early. Areoles filled with short white hair-like spines; larger spines 1–4, each mostly 1–3 cm long.
Flowers 2–5 cm diam., yellow.
Fruit ovoid, 2–3 cm long, green to red diffused with purple. Propagates from segments and fruit that are detached and spread by animals and water.