Theis considered the hardiest thermophilous plant suited to indoor cultivation. In its native Brazil, it grows as an epiphyte on trees. It forms funnel-shaped rosettes of tough , up to 50 cm (20 in) long and 6-10 cm (2.5-4 in) wide. They are shortly toothed on the margins and spiny at the tips. The greyish-silver, horizontal stripes on the leaves are formed by minute, scale-like hairs. A thick, pink , topped by a tightly packed inflorescence grows from the centre of the rosette. The pink bracts are more striking than the . The inflorescence can last for several months.
In indoor cultivation, it is usually grown on a stump or branch. However, it also does well as a pot plant. It even stands up well to unventilated, smoky rooms.