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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Peyote and other Psychoactive Cacti

A biased book review of sorts.

Picked this up from a charity shop in Camden for a quid.  Judging from the price on the cover someone initially paid £20 for this and really can't think why. 

First of all are you a stoner, a pot head or a hippie, then you may get £20 worth from this. Especially if you are actually going to use a plant, that is from the UK perspective, better off grown as a show plant.  There are a few chapters that I've not read yet, mostly about preparing mescaline from the raw Peyote, but what I have read its that its mostly written from the standpoint of a psychonaut.

Here are some facts about Lophophora Williamsii here (wiki article actually goes into more depth than the book) and if you want some pics, here's cactus guide with a few notes on forms and varieties. 

To be honest its not just Peyote as there is a few bits on San Pedro Cactus (A.K.A grafting stock) too as well as some of the smaller genera of plants, Ariocarpus, Aztekium and Obregonia that contain psycho active ingredients to some degree.  Mostly though they are just broken down to their constituent chemicals, in the description and such and yes, any sane person would grow them to show, as all three species are alsochoice, small plants that take up very little room and are known for slowness of growth.  

As the book was printed in 1997 the names need updating, so Dolicothele is much better known as part of Mammilaria today (and was back then, seriously did they grab them from Britton and Rose).  Cultivation wise its not bad though we don't need a shade house here in the UK as light levels are pitiful at best. Hydroponic growth is mainly used for stuff that are tricky on their own roots such as the more tender ! Asclepiads and Melocacti, I've had no problem growing Peyote on its own roots even surviving in an unheated greenhouse and the kill winter of 2010.

Legality its a grey area for stuff, you can get the taller Echinopsis sometimes as well as the smaller species.  I got my Lophophora as a kid from Syon House garden center back in the 80's but its available from cactus sellers from time to time and yes they know all about this too.

Finally, and this is anecdotal evidence, from talks and listening in to conversations.  There is bugger all peyote in cultivated specimens, plus its a really horrible trip, bitter, puking and shitting everywhere apparently not that I've tried. 

The book isn't bad, its going to give you the basics on growing and grafting which will help up the growth rate (did I say its slow growing) and a bit on law and shamanic usage.  Its not bad but more of a curiosity.

Finally, I'll leave you with a pic of when my plant flowered many moons ago, (it's still clinging on).

Much more shrivelled now.

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