This cactus is gray-green to blue-gray in color and spherical, hemispherical, columnar, or flat-topped in shape. It reaches a maximum size of about 45 centimeters tall by 20 wide. The body is made up of curving sections that twist around the body in a helical fashion. These sections are lined with areoles bearing up to 10 spines each. The pink, gray, or brown spines may be over 4 centimeters long.