In cool maritime climate of Baja California Sur, creeping devil cacti can grow at a rate of up to two feet per year, forming large, sometimes impenetrable colonies of thorny stems, but when transplanted to more arid climates, their growth rate drops to two feet per decade. But even in their endemic environment, these succulents are isolated from pollinators so they rely on self-cloning for survival.
As it grows parallel to the ground, the stem of the creeping devil cactus will start to take roots toward their tip, and once it is solidly fixed into the sandy soil, the old body dies, rotting and eventually turning into nutrients that help the new stem grow. It is this process that also allows the cactus to creep through the desert over time. In a way, the cactus has to die in order to survive.