Cleistocactus winteri is a succulent of the Cactaceae family. Its common name is the golden rat tail. It is one of three species named rat tail cactus. This plant forms huge tangled mounds of fairly rapid growth. It has many short bristly golden spines that literally cover the surface of the stems. A very popular variety that is often grafted commercially is Cleistocactus Winteri var. Cristata, the crested variety. This produces uneven, chaotic, but visually fascinating growth.