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Peyote Cactus.jpg
Lophophora williamsii cluster
Scientific classification


Lophophora diffusa
Lophophora williamsii - Peyote

Distribucion del Peyote.jpg
Lophophora range

Lophophora is a genus of spineless, button-like cacti native to Texas from Presidio county (Big Bend National Park) south right along the Rio Grande river to Starr County, Texas. Its range continues south through Northeast and north central Mexico to Querétaro in central Mexico.[ citation needed ] The species are extremely slow growing, sometimes taking up to thirty years to reach flowering age (at the size of about a golf ball, excluding the root) in the wild.[ citation needed ] Cultivated specimens grow considerably faster, usually taking between three and ten years to reach from seedling to mature flowering adult.[ citation needed ] The slow rate of reproduction and over-harvesting by collectors render the species under threat in the wild.[ citation needed ]

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

Cactus Family of mostly succulent plants, adapted to dry environments

A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales. The word "cactus" derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek κάκτος, kaktos, a name originally used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant whose identity is not certain. Cacti occur in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought. Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water. Almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water. Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place. Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves. As well as defending against herbivores, spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade. In the absence of leaves, enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis. Cacti are native to the Americas, ranging from Patagonia in the south to parts of western Canada in the north—except for Rhipsalis baccifera, which also grows in Africa and Sri Lanka.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.



Lophophora means "crest-bearing", referring to the tufts of trichomes that adorn each tubercle. The name is derived from the two Ancient Greek words λοφος (lophos, the crest of a hill or helmet) and φορεω (phoreo, to carry). [1] Lophophora has been reported to have two species, L. diffusa and L. williamsii . Another three species have been proposed[ by whom? ]: L. fricii, L. koehresii, and L. alberto-vojtechii. Recent DNA sequencing studies (Butterworth et al. 2002) have shown that L. diffusa and L. williamsii indeed are distinct species. DNA evidence from the alleged species L. fricii and L. koehresii would allow for more accurate classification. [2]


Trichomes, from the Greek τρίχωμα (trichōma) meaning "hair", are fine outgrowths or appendages on plants, algae, lichens, and certain protists. They are of diverse structure and function. Examples are hairs, glandular hairs, scales, and papillae. A covering of any kind of hair on a plant is an indumentum, and the surface bearing them is said to be pubescent.

Tubercle round nodule, small eminence, or warty outgrowth found on external or internal organs of a plant or an animal

In anatomy, a tubercle is any round nodule, small eminence, or warty outgrowth found on external or internal organs of a plant or an animal.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.


<i>Lophophora diffusa</i> species of plant

Lophophora diffusa, commonly known as false peyote, is a species of plant in the Cactaceae family and one of the only two species in the Lophophora genus. It is endemic to Mexico in the outskirts of Querétaro. This species contains zero to trace amounts of mescaline; pellotine, whose psychoactive effects are comparatively minimal, is the principal alkaloid. The species name diffusa refers to the flat tubercles that are outspread without the plant having prominent ribs.

Mescaline chemical compound

Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid of the phenethylamine class, known for its hallucinogenic effects comparable to those of LSD and psilocybin.

Pellotine chemical compound

Pellotine is an alkaloid found in Lophophora species.

John Merle Coulter U.S. Botanist

John Merle Coulter, Ph. D. was an American botanist and educator. In his career in education administration, Coulter is notable for serving as the president of Indiana University and Lake Forest College and the head of the Department of Botany at the University of Chicago.


Lophophora species easily adapt to cultivation, requiring warm conditions and a free-draining substrate, and to be kept dry in winter.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

<i>Echinocactus</i> genus of plants

Echinocactus is a genus of cacti in the subfamily Cactoideae. The generic name derives from the Ancient Greek εχινος (echinos), meaning "spiny," and cactus. It and Ferocactus are the two genera of barrel cactus. Members of the genus usually have heavy spination and relatively small flowers. The fruits are copiously woolly, and this is one major distinction between Echinocactus and Ferocactus. Propagation is by seed.

<i>Aztekium</i> genus of plants

The genus Aztekium contains three species of small globular cactus. Discovered in 1929 by F. Ritter, in Rayones, Nuevo León, Mexico, this genus was thought to be monotypic until a second species was discovered by George S. Hinton, in Galeana, Nuevo León in 1991. A further species, Aztekium valdesii, was discovered in 2011 by M.A. Alvarado Vázquez in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains of Nuevo León; the name was formally published in 2013, although as of September 2013 the name is not accepted by secondary sources such as The Plant List.

<i>Stenocereus eruca</i> species of plant

Stenocereus eruca, commonly known as creeping devil, is a member of the family Cactaceae. It is one of the most distinctive cacti, a member of the relatively small genus Stenocereus. It is endemic to the central Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, and is found only on sandy soils, where it forms massive colonies.

<i>Ariocarpus</i> genus of plants

Ariocarpus is a small genus of succulent, subtropical plants of the family Cactaceae.

<i>Epithelantha</i> genus of plants

Epithelantha is a genus of cactus that is native to northeastern Mexico, and in an area from western Texas to Arizona. Epithelantha has two species, Epithelantha micromeris and Epithelantha bokei. The name Epithelantha refers to the flower position near the apex of the tubercles.

<i>Pelecyphora</i> genus of plants

Pelecyphora is a genus of cacti, comprising 2 species. They originate from Mexico.

<i>Leocereus</i> genus of plants

Leocereus bahiensis is a species of cactus and the only species of the genus Leocereus.

<i>Echinopsis lageniformis</i> species of plant

Echinopsis lageniformis, the Bolivian torch cactus, is a fast-growing columnar cactus from the high deserts of Bolivia. Among the indigenous populations of Bolivia, it is sometimes called achuma or wachuma, although these names are also applied to related species such as Echinopsis pachanoi which are also used for their psychedelic effects.

Lophophine chemical compound

Lophophine is a putative psychedelic and entactogen drug of the methylenedioxyphenethylamine class. It is the α-demethylated homologue of MMDA, and is also closely related to mescaline.

<i>Dermatophyllum secundiflorum</i> species of plant

Dermatophyllum secundiflorum is a species of flowering shrub or small tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Common names include Texas mountain laurel, Texas mescalbean, frijolito, and frijolillo. Although "mescalbean" is among the plant's common appellations, it bears no relation to the Agave species used to make the spirit mezcal, nor to the peyote cactus, which contains the hallucinogenic alkaloid mescaline.

<i>Ariocarpus fissuratus</i> species of plant

Ariocarpus fissuratus is a species of cactus found in small numbers in northern Mexico and Texas in the United States. Common names include living rock cactus, false peyote, chautle, dry whiskey and star cactus.

<i>Echinocactus grusonii</i> species of plant

Echinocactus grusonii, popularly known as the golden barrel cactus, golden ball or mother-in-law's cushion, is a well known species of cactus, and is endemic to east-central Mexico.

<i>Astrophytum asterias</i> species of plant

Astrophytum asterias is a species of cactus in the genus Astrophytum, and is native to small parts of Texas in the United States and Mexico. Common names include sand dollar cactus, sea urchin cactus, star cactus and star peyote.

<i>Echinopsis pachanoi</i> fast-growing columnar cactus

Echinopsis pachanoi — known as San Pedro cactus — is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the Andes Mountains at 2,000–3,000 m (6,600–9,800 ft) in altitude. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, and it is cultivated in other parts of the world. Uses for it include traditional medicine and traditional veterinary medicine, and it is widely grown as an ornamental cactus. It has been used for healing and religious divination in the Andes Mountains region for over 3,000 years. It is sometimes confused with its close relative Echinopsis peruviana.

Peyote species of plant, peyote

Lophophora williamsii or peyote is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline. Peyote is a Spanish word derived from the Nahuatl, or Aztec, peyōtl[ˈpejoːt͡ɬ], meaning "glisten" or "glistening". Other sources translate the Nahuatl word as "Divine Messenger". Peyote is native to Mexico and southwestern Texas. It is found primarily in the Chihuahuan Desert and in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potosí among scrub. It flowers from March to May, and sometimes as late as September. The flowers are pink, with thigmotactic anthers.

Many cacti are known to be psychoactive, containing phenethylamine alkaloids such as mescaline However, the two main ritualistic (folkloric) genera are Echinopsis, of which the most psychoactive species is the San Pedro cactus, and Lophophora, with peyote being the most psychoactive species. Several other species pertaining to other genera are also psychoactive, though not always used with a ritualistic intent.

Psychoactive plant

Psychoactive plants are plants, or preparations thereof, that upon ingestion induce psychotropic effects. As stated in a reference work:

Psychoactive plants are plants that people ingest in the form of simple or complex preparations in order to affect the mind or alter the state of consciousness.


  1. Liddell, Henry George; Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-910207-4.
  2. C. A. Butterworth & J. H. Cota-Sanchez, & R. S. Wallace (2002), ”Molecular systematics of Tribe Cacteae (Cactaceae: Cactoideae): A phylogeny based on rpl16 intron sequence variation”, Systematic Botany27 (2), 257-270.
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