This is a low spreading plant of dry, rocky slopes in the Mojave Desert at Red Rock Canyon. It is well adapted to grow in the parched desert environment. As with other desert cacti, this plant’s leaves are spines. These thorny leaves have less surface area than broad leaves of deciduous plants. This reduces water loss to transpiration. Additionally, these spikes protect the plant from herbivores (plant-eating wildlife). Its many roots spread out to capture what little rain falls. Water is stored in the plant’s thick leaf pads which helps the plant remain viable during periods of dryness.