Lophophora williamsii


Group:  Dicot

Family:  Cactaceae

Duration:  Perennial

Growth habit:  Shrub

Other common names: hikuri, azee, piote, jiculi, challote, raiz del diablo, mescal button, peote, tuna de tierra, and whisky cactus 




True Root

Underground Stem

The soft green crown tissue is the medicine desired for ceremony. 

The subterranean stem tissue is tough to chew and has little medicinal value. It also has the ability to produce pups from this area.


Correct spiritual harvesting for conservation of the medicine is done by cutting horizontally at the base of the crown (usually at ground level). If the harvester cuts too deep -- or if the harvester is lazy and cuts at a slant (so as not to have to bend over), that sloppy harvesting technique results in removal of part of the underground stem -- then two bad things happen: 

1. The underground stem tissue, which is tough to chew and has little medicinal value, gets mixed in with the crowns intended for ceremony -- which is not ideal. 

2. When part of the underground stem tissue is harvested along with the crown, the plant's ability to regrow is damaged, reducing the number of regrowth pups that the harvested mother plant can produce.  This results in a reduction in overall regrowth, which has a negative effect on the size of the peyote population.

Notice that the actual root of the plant is very deep below ground level and is very small -- adding almost nothing of medicinal value to the crowns harvested for ceremony.