Etymology -Named in honor of Herman Gruson, a German plant collector from the late 1800's. In The New Cactus Lexicon, all species that are included by default here in Grusonia have been moved into the genus Corynopuntia with the exception of G. bradtiana. Thus, a more recent treatment makes Grusonia a monotypic genus. Clearly a member of the subfamily Opuntioideae, due to the presence of glochids, segmented or jointed stems and the ephemeral leaves which show up on new growth. Members of the genus Grusonia all inclusive are mostly low-growing mats of stems with heavy spines on low ribs or slight tubercles. Unlike the similar Cylindropuntia, the spines are not covered with a papery sheath, though some have a little of this trait. Flowers range in color from pink to yellow, even white and are cup-shaped appearing waxy or satin-like. Fruits are typically spiny, fleshy, and dry.
Due to its rugged appearance and habit of forming large mats, Grusonia is not widely grown in cultivation. However, some collectors may be found with a species occasionally almost as a conversation piece verses a prized possession. These plants hail from the Southwest United States and nearby Mexico and down along the Baja California Peninsula.