Plants unbranched or less often few branched (rarely forming mounds to [30-]40 cm diam.), spines not much obscuring stem surface. Roots ± diffuse. Stems spheric or ovoid (cylindric in old plants), deep-seated only when young, sometimes flat-topped, 5-15(-25) × 5.5-8.5(-15) cm; tubercles (10-)15-30(-40) × 8-15 mm, firm; areolar glands seasonally conspicuous; parenchyma not mucilaginous; pith 1/3-1/2 of lesser stem diam.; medullary vascular system present. Spines 7-20+ per areole, usually whitish, straw colored or horn colored to grayish tan, sometimes pale pinkish gray when fresh, tips dark red to dark brown, larger spines often extensively tipped chestnut, blackish purple, or black; radial spines 6-16(-20) per areole (commonly 5-7 on immature plants), 11-35 mm, nearly as large as the central spines, often longer, 0.8-1.2 mm diam.; subcentral spines 0-2 per areole; central spines 1-4 per areole (0-1 on immature plants), abaxial (or only) spine porrect or slightly ascending, larger spines rigid, straight on older plants in eastern populations (strongly curved and/or hooked in some immature plants and young adults of western populations), one 23-34 mm, others, if present, 12-50 × 0.3-2 mm. Flowers nearly apical, (38-)45-64 × (32-)50-73 mm; outer tepals minutely fringed; inner tepals ca. 20 per flower, dark golden yellow, pale greenish yellow, translucent dull yellow, or saffron yellow, proximally reddish, often bronze tinted proximally or in vague midstripes, sometimes turning entirely pinkish bronze, 23-36 × 5-11.5 mm; outer filaments reddish or orange; anthers pale to bright yellow; stigma lobes 6-11, cream to creamy pink, yellow, or orange-yellow, 3-7 mm. Fruits green, fusiform-cylindric, (35-)40-50 × (12-)13(-15) mm, slimy; floral remnant deciduous, leaving a concave abscission scar. Seeds bright reddish brown, narrowly reniform-cylindric to reniform-obovoid or comma-shaped, 2.3-3.5 mm, smooth, shiny (anticlinal cell walls forming a conspicuous reticulate color-pattern, but not visibly protruding). 2n = 22.