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The Encyclopedia of Cacti

  Lophophora williamsii CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Lophophora williamsii  is one of the most and ornamental cacti.
 

Description: Solitary or (rarely) caespitose spineless cactus, normally unicephalous but becoming polycephalous with age or injury,
Stem: Glaucous green, dull bluish or greyish green, very succulent, globular, top-shaped, or somewhat flattened up to 6 cm tall, 12 cm diameter, with a woolly top; The subterranean portion of the stem, which is as wide as the aerial portion, extends several cm below the surface of the ground and transitions smoothly (through a thin hypocotyl) into a large taproot which may extend over 25 cm below ground level.
Ribs: (5 when young) 7 to 13 (very rarely 4 or 14 ) broad, rounded, straight, or spiralled, often tuberculate, sometimes irregular and indistinct, with transverse furrows forming more or less regular, polyhedral tubercles;
Roots: Napiform, usually 8-11 cm long
Areoles: Round spineless, bearing flowers only when young with some bunches of long erect, matted, wooly greyish hairs, up to 1 cm long.
Flowers: Solitary, campanulate, 1.5-2.5 cm across when open usually pink (rarely whitish) outer perianth segments and scales ventrally greenish. They emerge from the mass of hairs at umbilicate centre of crown each surrounded by a mass of long hairs. Stigma-lobes 5-7, linear, pink.
Blooming season: Flowers sporadically throughout summer.
Fruits: Club-shaped, red to pinkish, 2 cm long or shorter which can be very delectable and sweet-tasting when eaten.
Seeds: Small and black up to1 mm in diameter, with broad basal hilum, tuberculate-roughened.
 

Often in cultivation forms beautiful long tuft of wool from the areoles.
 

Cultivation: All Lophophora species are extremely slow growing, often taking up to thirty years to reach flowering age in the wild (about the size of a golf ball, not including its root). Human cultivated specimens grow considerably faster, usually taking from six to ten years to go from seedling to mature flowering adult.
Because of the tap root they are very rot prone, so use highly gritty compost with much drainage. Requires half shade to part sun. Waterings should be rather infrequent  to keep the plant compact and not to become excessively elongated and unnatural in appearance, watering it properly is often difficult because this plant tends to crack open or rot if over-watered. The fact that the plant retracts into the soil and assume a grey-green colouring between watering, is perfectly natural and doesn’t cause any damage.
Overwatering:
Keep completely dry and cool in winter (An unheated greenhouse would be perfect) or when night temperatures remain below 10° C,  it can survive low temperatures (appr. -7°C)  for a short period. Assure a good ventilation.
Propagation:
Easy to propagate from seeds.
The seeds are, requiring hot and humid conditions to germinate.
 


 

Uses: Peyote has been used for centuries for the mystical effects experienced when it is ingested. It contains a large spectrum of phenethylamine alkaloids, the principal of which is mescaline. The top of the cactus that grows above ground, also referred to as the crown, consists of disc-shaped buttons that are cut from the roots and dried. These buttons are generally chewed, or boiled in water to produce a psychoactive tea. The resulting infusion is extremely bitter and, in most cases, the user experiences a high degree of nausea before the onset of the psychedelic effects.
However cultivated plants have only traces of the alkaloid present in wild harvested plant and their “psychedelic” effect are minimal or completely absent, but they still cause nausea, vomit, headache.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Lophophora williamsii  complex (This Taxon has  several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery Lophophora

Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Lophophora williamsii (Lem. ex ex Salm-Dyck.) Coulter
in Contrib. U.S. Nat. Herb. 3 (1894) 131.

Origin:  Grows in an area that stretches from from the Chihuahuan Desert to the South Texas Plains, on either side of the middle and lower Rio Grande River, southward to the Mexican state of San Luís Potosí. Extensive stands of peyote occur on the low, rocky hills in Starr, Zapata, Webb, and Jim Hogg counties of southern Texas.

Habitat:  Grows isolated or in groups usually in calcareous deserts, on rocky slopes, or in dried river beds.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Peyote, mescal buttons, muscal buttons, pellote.

Synonyms:

  • Anhalonium williamsii Eng., 1854
  • Echinocactus rapa Fischer et Meyer, 1869
  • Ariocarpus williamsii (Lem.) Voss., 1872
  • Anhalonium williamsii (Lem.) Rümpler, 1886
  • Lophophora lewinii Rusby, 1894
  • Lophophora williamsii lewinii (Henn.) Coulter, 1894
  • Echinocactus lewinii Hennings, 1895
  • Mammillaria lewinii Karsten, 1895
  • Lophophora lewinii Thompson, 1898
  • Echinocactus williamsii "Hylaeid α" pelotinica Sch. K., 1898
  • Echinocactus williamsii "Hylaeid β" v. anhalonica K. Schumann, 1898
  • Echinocactus williamsii var. pelotinica Rouh., 1927
  • Echinocactus williamsii var. anhalonica Rouh., 1927
  • Lophophora caespitosa Krzgr., 1935
  • Lophophora texana Fric ex Roeder, 1935
  • Lophophora williamsii var. decipiens Croizat, 1944
  • Lophophora williamsii var. pentagona Croizat, 1944
  • Lophophora williamsii var. pluricostata Croizat, 1944
  • Lophophora echinata Croizat, 1944
  • Lophophora williamsii var. texana Krzgr., 1961
  • Lophophora lutea var. texana (Fric ex Krzgr.) Backbg., 1961
  • Lophophora willi


A Lophophora williamsii and an Ariocarpus kotsckoubeyanus in ther natural habitat in Mina, Nuevo Leon, among dried mud.
(Photo by: Marco Antonio Arroyo, Mexico)
 

 

 




 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

The Encyclopedia of Cacti