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Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Forms and Subspecies
Asselkaktus, falscher peyote, false peyote, hatchet
cactus, peotillo, peyote (see Lophophora williamsii) ,
peyote meco, peyotillo, piote
Indians of northern Mexico once used this
relatively rare cactus in a similar manner to or as a
substitute for peyote (see Lophophora williamsii).
The first botanical description of the psychoactive
cactus was made by the Berlin physician and
botanist Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (17951876).
A powder of the cactus was formerly sold in
Paris under the name poudre de peyote, "peyote
This cactus occurs only in northern Mexico (San
Luis Potosi) (Preston-Mafham 1995, 167*; Zander
The plant is propagated from seeds, which are
planted in the same manner as those of Lophophora
This solitary cactus can grow to a height of 10 cm.
It has a round form with lateral, flattened
tubercles that are arranged in a spiral fashion and
have scalelike pectinate spines. Because of this, the
cactus sometimes resembles a deeply convoluted
brain. The flowers are up to 3 cm across and are
bright violet. The fruits are red pods.
Peyotillo can easily be confused with the
closely related species Pelecyphora strobiliformis
(Werderm.) Kreuz. [syn. Ariocarpus strobiliformis
Werderm., Encephalocarpus strobiliformis (Werderm.)
Berger; cf. Ariocarpus fissuratus] , which is
found in Nuevo Leon (Mexico) (Preston-Mafham
1995, 167*). Another very similar species is Pelecyphora
pseudopectinata Backeb. [SYll. Neolloydia
pseudopectinata (Backeb.) Anderson, Turbinicarpus
pseudopectinatus (Backeb.) Glass et Foster]; in
Tamaulipas, this cactus is also called peyote (Diaz
1979, 90*). Turbinicarpus valdezianus (Moell.)
Glass et Foster [SYll. Pelecyphora vaIdezianus
MoelI.] is also quite similar, but it is smaller
(growing to a height of only 2.5 cm) and occurs inCoahuila (Preston-Mafham 1995, 194*).
- Fresh or dried cactus flesh (buttons)Preparation and Dosage
The flesh of the cactus (the aboveground portion
or the head) can be eaten fresh or dried. No information
concerning dosages is known.
Only as a peyote substitute (see Lophophora
See Lophophora williamsii.
See Lophophora williamsii.
The cactus contains hordenine, anhalidine, pellotine,
3-dimethyltrichocerine, some mescaline, Nmethylmescaline,
and other p-phenethylamines (Mata and McLaughlin 1982, 110*; Neal et al.
One cactus, eaten fresh, is said to produce peyotelike
effects (cf. Lophophora williamsii). Although
the effects are not quite as dramatic, they do
include the typical visual changes and phenomena
(William Emboden, pers. comm.).
Commercial Forms and Regulations
This rare cactus is almost never found in the
international cactus trade. It may be possible to
obtain seeds from ethnobotanical mail-order
See also the entry for Lophophora williamsii.
Neal, J. M., P. T. Sato, W. N. Howald, and J. L.
McLaughlin. 1972. Peyote alkaloids:
Identification in the Mexican cactus Pelecyphoraaselliformis Ehrenberg. Science 176:1131-33.