With its thick, often nearly golden yellow stems, heavy armature and beautiful flowers, this species stands out even within a group of plants as special as the Sarcocaulons.
The plants occur in the coastal desert from Luederitz in southern Namibia to the Holgat River in South Africa and also in the area between Bethanie and Klein Karas in Namibia. In some regions of stabilised coarse sand they are very common with sometimes few or no other plants around. In some areas they are also found in rock crevices.
Their habit is creeping to more or less upright, up to 50 cm tall. Although they are potentially very spiny plants, the spines are often continually abrased by wind-blown sand.
When flowering (mainly May-September) the plants are even more attractive than usual, with their pink, magenta or purple flowers of about 3 cm in diameter.