Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Forms and Subspecies




Folk Names

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 in

Coahuila (Preston-Mafham 1995, 194*).
Psychoactive Material

- 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.

Ritual Use

Only as a peyote substitute (see Lophophora



See Lophophora williamsii.

Medicinal Use

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 Pelecyphora

aselliformis Ehrenberg. Science 176:1131-33.

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