Description: Clumping plants form low, dense mounds sometime up to 40 cm wide entirely covered by the mass of white feathery spines.
Stems: Depressed globose or somewhat elongate, without latex, spherical, 4- 7 cm high and in diameter. Light green, but appearing white because of the dense spines.
Tubercles: Small, flattened, 2-4 mm long, somewhat woolly in their axil.
Radial spines: About 40 per areole 1 – 7 mm long, white, weak, interlacing, feathery. The spines in this specie have very long hairs along the spine-axis arranged as are the segments of a bird’s feather and that furnish an epidermal protection against the blasting sun of the desert.
Central spines: Absent.
Flowers: Whitish yellow, up to 3-15 mm long (occasionally with pink midstrips), with a strong sweet scent. Perianth segment with a reddish line running down to the centre.