Its name derives from Greek and literally means "with the appearance of a hedgehog", referring precisely to the globular and strongly spiny shape of the cactus. It has globular green stems, which with the growth tend to assume a slightly columnar habit, or sometimes to cluster with numerous suckers. What is most striking about these plants, and what strongly distinguishes them from other genera with the same prefix (for example, Echinocereus and Echinocactus), are its wonderful fragrant flowers that bloom, when the plant has reached its maturity. The flowers are particularly large, compared to the plant; they bloom on the top of the plant, generating spectacular funnels that last only a few days, but quickly alternate, making the plant bloom all summer around! It is a very popular genus among green collectors, because of these immense sculptural-looking blooms, but also because it easily reproduces suckers and, above all, has a rather simple and rapid growth, which is why it is usually used as a base for grafting.