They are fleshy shrubs, with rounded, woody stems, and numerous succulent branches, composed in most of the species of separate joints or parts, which are much compressed, often elliptic or suborbicular, dotted over in spiral lines with small, fleshy, caducous leaves, in the axils of which are placed the areoles or tufts of barbed or hooked spines of two forms. The flowers are mostly yellow or reddish-yellow, and are succeeded by pear-shaped or egg-shaped fruits, having a broad scar at the top, furnished on their soft, fleshy rind with tufts of small spines.
A few barrel weights are found at Karnak, and several egg-shaped shekel weights at Gebelen (44); also two cuboid weights from there (44) of 1 and 10 utens are marked as 6 and 60, which can hardly refer to any unit but the heavy shekel, giving 245.
The leaves are short, thicker and more rigid than in any of the other larches; the cones are much larger than those of the hackmatacks, egg-shaped or oval in outline; the scales are of a fine red in the immature state, the bracts green and extending far beyond the scales in a rigid leaf-like point.
The leaf in its contour is somewhat obovate, or inversely egg-shaped, and its base is oblique.
Some varieties are dopallari, a skull-cap; kishtinuma, or boat-shaped cap; goltopi, a round cap of the kind known in England as " pork-pie "; bezwi, or egg-shaped cap; sigoshia, or three-cornered cap; chaugoshia, or four-cornered cap; tajdar, or crown-shaped cap; &c. Many other caps are named after the locality of manufacture or some peculiarity of make, e.g.