Lophophora Williamsii in flower  

The new home of Lophophora Williamsii
and its closest friends

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Growers Notes... New Species or Not??

Lophophora Williamsii

And here my friends, we honour the famous yet typical Lophophora Williamsii. I say typical, in that after so many years of people collecting plants from their habitat and crossing them with plants of various locations, we have ended up with what is possibly one of the hardiest strains of Lophophora ever found in existence. In fact, it seems that most of the plants now found in North America somehow came here after a round the world trip from areas such as the Czech Republic, where growers have concentrated on producing the hardiest of plants, most likely coming from those found in the furthest northern regions of Mexico and Texas.

The typical Lophophora Williamsii is known to grow fairly large, often producing many pups in its lifetime. The one I have shown here below, measures almost thirteen centimetres across not including the mature pup on its left which is considered to be about as large as they get. Only time will tell if it gets much bigger.

As mentioned on the plants description page, alkaloid contents are considered to be pretty much the same across the board with all members of the Williamsii family containing between fifteen to thirty percent mescaline as its primary alkaloid. It should also be noted that the typical L. Williamsii plant is of the northern variety and is therefore self pollinating. The plant can apparently be cross pollinated, which is supposed to be healthier for the species, but how one can tell if a cross has taken with a plant that quite easily self pollinates, this can only be discovered with time as future seeds are planted and grown.

The typical Lophophora Williamsii germinates easily from seed. It is best to use the freshest seeds available, although seeds can be kept for years if refrigerated. Given the right conditions, a plant can reach maturity and flower for you within a year and a half of planting.

Questions always arise as to the percentage of mescaline contained within the body of Lophophora Williamsii. For the record, all members of the Williamsii family are mescaline bearing. What makes the greatest difference in the percentage of mescaline are a number of factors such as age and how the plant is treated. In habitat, these plants go through times of drought and dormancy and it is during these times, when there is a lack of water that the plant gets on with the process of producing a greater percentage of mescaline within its green body, in order to prevent the loss of moisture and eventual death. So this process, along with the repetition of years as the seasons change, increase its mescaline content. It is also presumed that the hardier the variety, the greater a percentage of mescaline that is produced to protect the plant in greater extremes, such as those found in Texas. I could be wrong with the above statement, but it is the only thing that makes sense other than years of growth allowing for a greater concentration of the primary alkaloid mescaline.

Lophophora Williamsii sp.

Above: Lophophora Williamsii 35 years

Here below, is a photo of a wonderful Lophophora Williamsii I acquired. It spent most of its life in a garden in Baja California... I was told the person nurtured it for forty five years and I have had it in my private collection for three years, bringing it to about 48 years of age. The plant doesn't have the largest tuber I have seen but an impressive one none the less.

Lophophora Williamsii about 45 years of age

Above: Lophophora Williamsii 48 years

Lophophora Williamsii mutation

Above: Lophophora Williamsii odd mutation

This very interesting mutation shown above of Lophophora Williamsii is a plant from my original collection before I began to specialize in this genus. The plant is 30 to 35 years of age and up until a little over a year ago looked very similar to the one pictured further up this page. Then one day i noticed it looking a little different to the point that I just couldn't figure out what was going on. I had witnessed strange things happen to plants when grafted such as large plant heads splitting, but never with one on its own roots. With time as pictured above, everything became apparent, the plant was growing two new heads. I have often seen plants shoot pups from perfectly formed heads but this change is quite different in that the plant is simply stretching itself out as these new head form. Flower shoots began emerging right away as well as seed pods within weeks of each flower. The plant does have three or four pups shooting from further down off the tuber which appear quite normal, but it is pushing another mutated head out the bottom right side once again, so in time this plant should have four perfectly formed flowering heads all in one.

Lophophora Williamsii 4 year old plants

Above: Lophophora Williamsii seed producers

The photograph here above, was a quick shot from one of my main seed production trays. These plants are incredibly prolific, sprouting new flowers every couple of weeks. In fact, the abundance of seed pods is a very good reflection as to how hard the plants are working for me, because these plants were harvested just five weeks before this shot was taken and they are ready for another harvest once again. Fresh seed anyone?

Lophophora Williamsii variegated aLophophora Williamsii variegated b

Above: Lophophora Williamsii variegated specimen on own roots

The above plant does have a flower that is more in tune to that of Lophophora Diffusa var. fricii, but it is indeed properly labelled as Lophophora Williamsii. Interestingly as I have been finding with both variegated, and cristate specimens, growth cycles seem to be very much slower than with the typical plant of any of these wonderful varieties. The above plant is two years and nine months old and is on its first flower. Typically such plants flower within a year and a half under my lights but special plants as these seem to take a bit longer.

email: dr_frank @ magicactus.com

Mailing address:
Frank Valente
56 Dewhurst Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario
M4J 3J3

© 2008, Frank Valente