A deciduous shrub devoid of down in all its parts, growing up to 10 ft high. The younger parts of the plant consist almost wholly of terete spines 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, 1⁄16 in. thick, very stiff and sharply pointed. Leaves (when present) 1⁄8 to 1⁄3 in. long, half or less than half as wide, pointed, often toothed. Flowers brownish or greenish white suffused with dull red, the tubular part 1⁄4 in. long, the lobes pointed and recurved; they are produced, each on a short stalk, mostly from beneath the spines, from March to June. Anthers only half exposed at the mouth of the tube. Bot. Mag., t. 3644.
Native of Chile; introduced in 1823. It is very like C. armata in general appearance, but that species is well marked by its downy spines, its more exposed anthers and autumnal flowering. The species is founded on a plant which flowered at Bicton, Devon, in March 1913. There is an example in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, planted in 1920, which never flowers.