De Candolle. 1828. Memoires du Museum d’Histoire Naturelle 17: 118.
Cylindropuntia kleiniae occurs in Chihuahuan desert creosote-mesquite flats and limestone slopes between approximately 800 to 1800 m elevation. It ranges from eastern New Mexico through western Texas and south through Mexico to San Luis Potosí. C. kleiniae is an openly-branching shrub growing up to 2.5 m tall. The stems are 4 to 20 cm long by 0.6 to 1.2 cm wide with 0 to 4 yellow to grey spines per areole. The flowers are greenish to reddish at the base with magenta-tinged tips. The filaments are green basally to bronze distally. The styles are greenish-bronze, and the stigmas are cream. The fruit is green maturing to red, fleshy, and spineless. C. kleiniae is a tetraploid (2n = 44).
Hybrids between C. kleiniae and C. leptocaulis are known as C. ×antoniae (triploid, 2n = 33). C. kleiniae is also known to hybridize with C. imbricata. C. kleiniae itself may be of hybrid origin. Earlier names for C. kleiniae include Opuntia wrightii and Opuntia recondita.