The bulk of the plant is underground where thick, wide roots form, looking much like parsnips or carrots. The upper part of the cactus grows about an inch (2.5 cm.) out of the ground in a rounded habit with a diameter of less than 2 inches (5 cm.). It is greenish-blue with 5 to 13 ribs and fuzzy hairs. Peyote plants often have tubercles, which give the ribs a spiral appearance. Occasionally, the plant will produce pink flowers which become club-shaped, edible pink berries.
Church members use the buttons as a sacrament and in religious teaching sessions. Care of peyote cacti is similar to most cacti. Grow them in a half and half mix of coconut husk and pumice. Restrict water after seedlings establish and keep the plants in indirect sun where temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 32 C.).
The plant is considered endangered due to over-harvesting and land development. A similar-looking cactus, Astrophytum Asterias, or star cactus, is legal to grow, but it is also endangered. Star cactus has only 8 ribs and a fibrous root system. It is also called the sand dollar or sea urchin cactus. Star cactus requires similar care to that of peyote and other cacti.
Only the 5 states listed allow church members to grow the plant. It is illegal in all other states and is federally unlawful. In other words, it is not a good idea to try to grow it unless you are a documented member of the Native American Church. For the rest of us, the star cactus will provide similar visual appeal and growth habit, without the danger of jail time.
Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a spineless cactus with a rich history of ritual use in the First Nation culture. In the United States the plant is illegal to cultivate or eat unless you are a member of the Native American Church. The plant is considered poisonous by U.S. officials but First Nations people use it as a sacrament and pathway to religious and personal enlightenment.
- You must be in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon or Colorado.
- You must be a member of the NAC and at least 25% First Nations.
- You are required to write a Declaration of Religious Belief, get it notarized and file it with the County Recorder’s Office.
- You must post a copy of this document above the location where plants will be grown.
While growing peyote is not allowed unless you are a member of the NAC, it is a fascinating plant with attributes worth learning about. There are, however, peyote plant look-a-likes you can grow at home that will satisfy your urge to cultivate this cute little cactus without breaking the law.
Peyote cactus is a small plant native to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and northeastern Mexico. It has numerous psychoactive chemicals, chiefly mescaline, which is used in religious ceremonies to elevate awareness and cause a mental and physical high. Peyote cultivation is a time-consuming process, as the plant can take up to 13 years to mature. In any event, growing peyote is illegal unless you are a member of the church and have filed the proper paperwork.
The part of peyote that is used for ritual is the small cushion-like upper part. The larger root is left in the ground to regenerate a new crown. The upper part is dried or used fresh and is called a peyote button. These are generally no larger than a quarter once dried and the dosage is 6 to 15 buttons. Older peyote plants produce offsets and develop into larger clumps of many plants. The cactus has 9 narcotic alkaloids of the isoquinoline series. The bulk of the effect is visual hallucinations, but auditory and olfactory alterations are also present.
While growing peyote is not allowed unless you are a member of the Native American Church (NAC), it is a fascinating plant with attributes worth learning about. Read this article to learn more and find similar plants that you can grow.
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Increasing The Alkaloid Concentrations
One of the main defences of cacti is to increase the production of protective alkaloids in response to numerous external stresses. The growing cactus plant can be “stressed” in a number of ways to help increase the concentration of alkaloids prior to harvest. It should be noted that, since cacti have a slow metabolism, it may take an entire growing season of stress to significantly affect alkaloid levels.
Here are some of the most common and widely tested methods:
Shade: There have been several reports that leaving live (or cut Trichocereus) in the shade for several months prior to harvesting to increase the percentage of alkaloids in the tissues of the plant. It is also common in Mexico and South America to leave cut cacti in large covered stacks for some time prior to being sold. There may be a good reason for that practice.
Excess Sun and Heat: Too much Sun or heat will most definitely stress a live cactus. It must be realized however, that increasing the alkaloids through stressing will greatly affect the plants growth rate, and might just kill it. Cactus can and do get sunburned, which can be fatal.
Nutrient level variations: Different formulas of fertilizers will affect the growth rate, and therefore the alkaloid mix and percentages. Very high nitrogen levels in the soil would help to draw water out of the cactus, and promote stress. Use caution as too much nitrogen will burn your plant. Remember though, a fast growing cactus is also lower in alkaloids per volume.
Watering stress: Depriving the intended victim of water is the most widespread method of trying to increase the alkaloid content. Many people advise to buy your cactus at least one growing season in advance, and then let them sit, without water, until they are ready to harvest.
Propagation of Lophophora
The most important things to understand are that seed fertility, moisture, temperature, soil mix, and light all affect seed germination.
Lights вЂ“ I keep my lights on using timers. Nothing elaborate is needed. Lights should be turned on for twelve to sixteen hours a day.
Seeds should be as fresh as possible, although seeds that have been kept in a cool environment have been known to keep for years. Seeds may lay dormant for years and still remain viable if kept dry and away from light. However, fresh seeds are more likely to be vital and should be planted as soon as proper conditions are available. Seed fertility, moisture, temperature, soil mix, and light all affect seed germination. Seeds should be started in lidded trays, or in small pots covered by a sandwich bag.
How do I know? From personal experience. In fact, I have personally been able to achieve a flowering plant from seed by grafting within seven months of planting the seed. The same plant put out its first fruit with seed by its tenth month. For those that are a little nervous to try their hand at grafting or just prefer a hard grown plant from seed I also have good news. When proper conditions are offered one can have a plant flowering within as little as one year and a half, just as in the picture you see here below. This batch of Lophophora Williamsii was planted December 14th 2006, and put out its first flower by June 11th 2008. If I can do this, I am sure that anyone with the desire to grow such a beautiful plant can too. and that means you!!
Adult Peyote plants can tolerate temperatures within a range of 45-130 degrees Fahrenheit. If soil is kept dry, it can survive temperatures as low as 30o F. Frequent watering and a shade cloth will protect it from temperatures exceeding 120 degrees F. Peyote is very sensitive to frost or prolonged near freezing temperatures and is easily injured or killed by frost. It should be brought inside in locations where the temperatures drop below 40 degrees F.
Lophophora Williamsii Seed Growing Instructions
MagiCactus.com The new home of Lophophora Williamsii and its closest friends Propagation of Lophophora Propagation is through seed,