Lophophora Williamsii in flower  

The new home of Lophophora Williamsii
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Growers Notes... New Species or Not??

Lophophora Williamsii
var. decipiens

Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens is a plant that I am still trying to figure out. There is no known history behind the plant other than its first mention by Leon Croizat and his statement that this variety can be found near Torreon and El Ampero, in the state of Coahuila Mexico. Unfortunately, no one has ever found this plant again in its natural habitat. More studies are definitely required for this variation for a few reasons other than a lack of confirmation about its known habitat. I have planted over five hundred of these from different seed suppliers and each one points to and looks like any typical Lophophora Diffusa var. fricii plant except for the fact that they seem to grow just a little larger on average. Everything from the texture and colour of the plants skin, though to its variation of flowers ranging from a light pink through to a deep magenta, and wonderfully bright pink striped variations as can be seen in the photos below, points to associations with that of the fricii group of plants. Another factor that leads me to believe that the decipiens variety is more closely related to the Diffusa family, is the fact that seeds for this variety can be purchased from Mesa Gardens in the United States. For those not knowing, Lophophora Williamsii is considered contraband in the United States and is therefore illegal due to its mescaline content, but varieties within the Diffusa family are considered legal in some parts of the US since they have shown themselves not to carry mescaline. Given the fact that the decipiens variety can be purchased and grown in parts of the US legally, offers the presumption that the variety does not contain mescaline (this means that someone has done DNA tests) and is therefore more in tune with that of the Diffusa family of plants according to its alkaloid tests. Until proper clarification is offered, I will be maintaining a close watch for any more differences and possible similarities between these and my Lophophora Diffusa var. fricii variations.

Seeds germinate rather easily from this variation of Lophophora and most plants produce many offsets providing for an abundance of flowers as seen in the photograph here below. Although, most published research states that this variety is self pollinating, I have learned that in fact it is self sterile and requires cross pollination to produce seed. This finding also indicates that members of the decipiens strain are quite possibly of the Diffusa family, or at the very least more closely connected with the southern variety of Lophophora. One can see from the picture at the bottom of the page that seedlings of the decipiens variety can be easily confused with seedlings of most Diffusa family strains.

Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens

Above: Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens

Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens flower variation

Above: Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens flower variation

Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens flower variations

Above: More Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens flower variation

Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens variegated

Above: Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens variegated

Here above is a shot of a very rare Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens variegated specimen... as far as numbers go I would have to say from personal planting experience that only about one in a thousand plants turn out with such a color formation. Unfortunately most variegated specimen seem to die before they mature and flower which is why many growers automatically graft such plants to ensure a greater chance of survival. As far as it goes with me though, if a plant cannot survive on its own roots it is not a plant worth having.

Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens seedlings

Above: Lophophora Williamsii var. decipiens year and a half old seedlings ready for transplant

email: dr_frank @ magicactus.com

Mailing address:
Frank Valente
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Toronto, Ontario
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© 2008, Frank Valente