Micropuntia as a genus contains 5 species that have all been included under a single species by various authors. In Anderson's The Cactus Family, all species are listed as Grusonia pulchella while The New Cactus Lexicon places the same species into Corynopuntia pulchella. This variety of classification at the genus level demonstrates the uniqueness of these plants.
Clearly a member of the Opuntiads, Micropuntia species feature cylindrical, branching stems with both spines and glochids. The plants will often form large underground tubers. Flowers are borne on the stem tips and are cup-shaped, pink to red. Fruits are green-red and contain large, pill-like seeds. The seeds germinate in a matter of hours with moisture and warmth and immediately push out a large tap-root. This root may just as easily push the seed up instead of reaching down in the soil. When this happens, the seedling quickly dries up and dies off.
In the wild, Micropuntia are found mostly in Nevada, but also in nearby California and Utah. Due to their small size and brownish-colored stems, plants in habitat are very difficult to locate when not in flower. In cultivation, only the most die-hard collectors grow this species and it is reported to be fairly temperamental.