Lophophora williamsii

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 Lophophora williamsii subsp. var.  
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[[]] > Lophophora williamsii var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Lophophora williamsii, Coult. (Echinocactus Williaimsii, Lem Anhalonium Williaimsii, Lem. E. Lewinii, Schum. Anhalonium Leiwinii, Hennings. L. Lewinii, Thomp.). Hemispherical, from a very thick root, often densely proliferous, transversely lined below by the remains of withered tubercles: ribs usually 8 (in young specimens often 6), very broad, gradually merging above into the distinct nascent tubercles, which are crowned with somewhat delicate penicillate tufts, which become rather inconspicuous pulvilli on the ribs: fls. small, whitish to rose. Texas_and Mex.—The well-knpwn "mescal button," used by the Indians in religious rites. Other Indian vernacular names are: peyotl, peyote, pellote, xicori, hicori, hiculi, huatari, camaba, seni (Kiowa Indians), ho (Apaches), wokowi (Comanches), mescal-buttons, mezcal-buttons (Oklahoma, Texas), teonanacatl (Ancient Aztecs).—This plant is highly esteemed and even held in superstitious reverence by several tribes of Indians in the mountains of Mex. and in the U S., on account of its narcotic properties. It is said that it produces beautiful highly colored visions. Its taste is bitter and disagreeable, and it sometimes causes vomiting. The use of the drug is accompanied by the loss of a sense of time. Its effects have been compared to those of hasheesh (Cannabis indica), but that narcotic produces delusions of merriment while lophophora causes a condition of ideal content followed by wakefulness. Several alkaloids have been separated from it, among them lophorine, anhalonine, and mezcaline. (See Dixon, W. E., Journ. Physiol., Sept., 1899, p. 71.) This plant was first received by wholesale druggists from Mrs. Anna B. Nickels, of Laredo, Texas, who called attention to the fact that the Indians of N. Mex. and S. W. U. S. "use the plant in manufacturing an intoxicating drink, also for breaking fevers" and that the tops cut off and dried are called mescal-buttons. These dried tops, which are often strung and sold in the markets of Mex., look very much like mushrooms and were mistaken for such by the early Spaniards. The Aztecs, who applied the name nanacatl to mushrooms in general, called this plant teonanacatl, which signifies "sacred mushroom," but they had very imperfect notions of botanical distinctions, and their name may be compared to "pineapple," which is certainly far removed from an apple. Hubert Howe Bancroft mentions this narcotic as a mushroom, and for centuries investigators have sought in vain for a Mexican fungus causing the effects attributed to the teonanacatl. Its identity, however, was for the first time established by W. E. Safford at a meeting of the Botanical Society of Washington, May 4, 1915. For an account of the history and ceremonial use of this plant, see Journal of Heredity, July, 1915.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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