Peyote Decipiens – Lophophora decipiens
The Peyote decipiens or Lophophora decipiens used to be a subspecies of the infamous Lophophora williamsii. Due to recent developments, the Lophophora decipiens is now considered as a separate species of peyote. How does it differ from the old peyote cactus people are more familiar with?
What is the Lophophora decipiens?
Any discussion about the Lophophora decipiens is not complete without a conversation about the Lophophora williamsii. Both are members of the cactus family but the latter is more commonly referred to as “peyote.”
Peyote has gained a reputation as an entheogenic plant because it contains the psychoactive compound mescaline which has a similar effect to LSD and psilocybin. Shamans and modern psychonauts turn to peyote to for spiritual and medicinal use.
Until recently, the Lophophora decipiens was considered a subspecies of L. williamsii. Taxonomists have now identified the Lophophora decipiens as an entirely different species.
But how did this come to be? Why wasn’t the L. decipiens classified as a separate species much earlier?
It all boils down to the messy classification of and within the Lophophora genus. The genus Lophophora was first used to describe plants which displayed well-defined tubercles but no sharply-defined ribs. Unfortunately, this identification applies to several cactus species.
In general, Lophophora plants grow low to the ground and form groups of numerous, dense sprouts. These sprouts have a blue-green, yellowish-green, or reddish-green hue, flattened and spherical in shape, and possess a recessed sprout top.
Members of the Lophophora genus don’t grow taller than 7cm and are 4 to 12cm in diameter. Their distinct, vertical ribs are made of small, hunch-like tubercles. Soft, whitish or yellowish tufts of woolly hair sit on top of these tubercles.
Between the areoles are flowers that are white, pink or yellowish in color. These flowers open during the day and grow up to 2.5cm in diameter with a height ranging from 1 to 2.4cm.
Peyote Decipiens – Lophophora decipiens location
Leon Croizat first wrote about the L. decipiens which grow in its natural habitat near Torreon and El Ampero in the Mexican state of Coahuila. It thrives on high elevations particularly high rocky peaks.
Increasing alkaloid content for Lophophora decipiens
- decipiens has the same alkaloid/mescaline level as regular peyote. However, it can be stressed in some ways to increase alkaloid concentration before harvesting. Keep in mind that L. decipiens has a slow metabolism so it may take a long period of stress before mescaline levels can be affected.
Here are some of the most common methods used to increase mescaline levels:
- Increasing sun and heat – Once the cacti have matured, too much sun will stress them out. Unfortunately, sunburn can be a real, fatal threat.
- High nitrogen levels – Higher concentrations of nitrogen in plant nutrients draw out water and stress cacti. Use this with caution though because too much nitrogen can burn the plants. Try to slow down the cactus growth rate too. Faster growing cacti have lower mescaline levels per volume.
- Withholding water – Water deprivation is the most widespread approach to increase cacti’s mescaline content. Many growers advocate letting cacti sit for the majority of the growing season without water until they are ready to harvest.
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