Lophophora Williamsii – English

Lophophora Williamsii

J.M.Coulter (contr. US Nation. Herb. 1894)

Originally described as: Echinocactus williamsii Salm-Dyck

Distribution: South USA and Mexico-

Meaning of the latin name: LOPHOS = Crest and PHOROS = bearing or carrying, which is probably relevant to the hairy areoles.

Synonyms: Peyote, Peyotl, Rauschgiftkaktus, Echinocactus williamsii, Ariocarpus Williamsii, Anhalonium williamsii, Mammillaria Williamsii


Bluish body that mostly consits of a large turnip which grows undergound.

Ribs: Usually between eight and ten. Plants with 8+ Ribs are really rare and most of them have around eight.

Lophophora williamsii comes from a group of plants that are very slow growing and wild specimens can sometimes even take up to 25 years to reach flowering age if they aren´t grafted. Grafted species flower a lot earlier and grow substantially faster! A mature speciment has the size a golf ball not countin its root.

The plants in cultivations grow faster and take between 3 to 15 years to reach the flowering age. Because the species reproduces very slowly & the fact that many pouchers illegally harvest wild specimens lead to them being under threat in the wild.

LOPHOPHORA= crest-bearing, which is referring to the small groups of trichomes that grow out of each tubercle. The opinions about LOPHOPHORA TAXONOMY are very different. While some taxonomists regarded LOPHOPHORA to consist of one species with various varieties or 4 species:


Modern taxonomists oftenly accept two species, which are:


DNA Sequencating could actually prove that LOPHOPHORA WILLIAMSII and LOPHOPHORA FRICII are really two seperate species. Futher DNA sequencing to prove that LOPHOPHORA FRICII and LOPHOPHORA VIRIDESCENS are actually seperate species too needs to be done some more in the future.


LOPHOPHORA DIFFUSA specimens are bright to yellow-green and don´t have so many defined ribs & furrows as LOPHOPHORA WILLIAMSII. The podaria are usually a lot broader & flatter. The fine groups of hairs are usually distributed irregularly on the podaria.
It usually has white to yellow flowers and the typus location of the plant occurs around Querétaro in Mexico.

  • Lophophora williamsii ( Lemaire ex Salm-Dyck ) J. M. Coult


Plants of LOPHOPHORA WILLIAMSII are bluish green color and have many well defined ribs and lots and lots of furrows. The hairs are distributed more regularly than on LOPHOPHORA DIFFUSA.
Like most Lophophoras, the flowers are usually pink. In some rare cases, the flowers are white or yellow (Lophophora Zieglerii), which is even more rare. LOPHOPHORA WILLIAMSII occurs throughout Mexico except in the state Querétaro. It also occurs in the south of the USA.

Areoles: They are 0,4 to 1,6 centimeters apart from each other, are rounded in shape with very tights tufts of hair. The hairs are medium long, white or gray in color.

Spines: LOPHOPHORA usually dont develope spines. But in some cases, especially on smaller seedlings, hairs can be present. If the plants do have spines, they usually occur in small groups of spines that are between 1-2 millimeters long and accompanied by white hair.

Flowers: Flowers are very small and approximately 1,25 centimeters in diameter.

Fruits: Club-spaced and up to 1 centimeter long. Reddish to pink in color!

Seeds: LOPHOPHORA only produces very few seed. Those seeds are black and have a mat color. Seeds are up to 2 milimeters in diameter.



Jalisco, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Durango, Querétaro, Hidalgo


South USA & Texas

Some areas of Mexico are named after this plant, for example:
Peyotán (Jalisco), Lomerías de Peyote (Coahuila)

The typus location was collected in Texas and the whole LOPHOPHORA group reaches up to large parts of mexico. But there is very little information available about where each variation occues. I will try to give you a complete overview about all the species & varieties but it will take me a while until I am done. If you want to donate pics or information, please let me know.

800px-Lophophora_williamsii_pmPeter A. Mansfeld

Peyote_Cactus LOPHOPHORA Williamsii

Lophophora_williamsii_iesFrank Vincentz



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