Lophophora sp. (williamsii?) forma cristata
and © copyright by Andrew Collin (Texas, USA)
Sometime a crested palnt produce some
normal shoots. Which are not monstrous at all!
But all this very different forms are the same plant! They are
epigenetic variation not genetic mutant!
Lophophoras are famous spineless cacti commonly known as
"Peyote". The stem is often glaucous green, dull bluish or greyish
green, very succulent, globular, top-shaped, or somewhat flattened with
a woolly top. There are several different species, variety and forms
(plus some intermediates and hybrid populations) In addition to the
foregoing there exists an impressive array of cristates which forms
nicely contorted and convoluted brain-like mounds. They are some of the
more striking and priced crested cacti. They shows different crested
shapes each of them has it own particular fascination.
The long time known L. williamsii 'Cristata'is the more common and famous, but more
recently cristates of segregate species have been illustrated and given
Japanese names by Sato (1999) as follows:
- L. williamsii forma cristata 'Ogataubatama Setsuka'
- L. williamsii forma cristata 'Ubatama Setsuka'
- L. williamsii forma cristata caespitosa 'Kobuki Ubatama
Crested Lophophoras are often sold grafted on columnar shaped cacti.
Comment: The cause of cresting
The cause of cresting is not fully
explained; biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this
unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say
it is the result of lightning strike or freeze damage, but whatever the
stimulus, the growth point of the stem has switched from a geometric
point, to a line, which folds and undulates as the crest expands. Though
these crested Lophophoras are somewhat rare (1 in 50,000),
cresting occurs naturally throughout the range of the Lophophora, and
can be encountered in many other cactus species.
a crest can appear any time, but development of crests on large
cactus species in the early
of ontogenesis is unlikely. On the other hand, small species may crest
early already at the
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and
plants belonging to the
Lophophora williamsii complex
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
Lophophora williamsii forma cristata Knuth-Knuthenborg
Published in: Den Nye Kakttisbo. 98. 1950
Garden origin (Nursery
produced cultivar) and habitat (Mexico)
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common English Names include: Crested peyote, Crested lophophora.
Lophophora williamsii 'cristata'
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
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.
for growing the crested forms:
The crests are frequently grafted onto columnar cacti but are easily grown on their own
roots. Any normal shoots should be removed to promote the growth of the
Propagation: Grafting or cuttings in summer (Cuttings will
root only in hot weather. Cuttings must be kept very dry to root). The
sowing of seeds collected on crested specimen give occasionally raise to
some crested plants, but whit a very low frequency. The seeds requiring hot and humid
conditions to germinate.