Unlike most of the club chollas which stay close to the ground, the large clumps of grusonia kunzei
also grow upwards, becoming nearly 2 feet high, and are capable of making large areas quite impenetrable, owing to the closely-spaced stems and razor sharp spines. The species is found only in the hottest, driest section of the Sonoran Desert in southwest Arizona, extending south into Mexico. There are between 17 and 27 spines per areole, of which 4 to 6 are largest and longest (up to 2 inches), angled outwards, colored brown, flattened and tapered. The remainder are lighter in color, shorter, and closer to the stem.
Flowers are pale yellow, as with most grusonia species, and they appear during spring and early summer. Fruits are also yellow, and very spiny.