Lophophora specie identification?

If you have a cactus plant and need help identifying it, this is the place to post it.
Loph
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Lophophora specie identification?

Post by Loph »

I am wondering what actually makes a williamsii a williamsii and what makes a difussa a diffusa? i am convinced that flower petal colour is NOT the only thing different, there has to be more.

Does anyone know what EXACTLY differentiates the 2, other than white/pink flowers? I have some flowering and when they come out I will post a couple photos of various things such as pollen and such from the microscope. I can also get some skin shots and anything else you think may help.

take care
iann
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Post by iann »

The various species are poorly defined morphologically. This is clearly shown as, to the best of my knowledge, nobody who published a Lophophora name has produced a key for how it should be distinguished from the other names.

L. diffusa is named for its relatively poorly defined tubercles and ribs, adult forms develop ten or more low or indistinct ribs with widely spaced tubercles that lack any strong shape. It also has a pale green body colour lacking the bluish or greyish tones present in almost every other Lophophora form.
--ian
Loph
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Post by Loph »

do you know if grafts tend to change the colours much? i read a bit about pollen variation as well, any ideas on that?

thanks :)
peterb
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Post by peterb »

Hi Loph-

Anderson's _Peyote: The Divine Cactus_ has the following brief description of L. diffusa (and indicates that L. williamsii is a much larger, more northern geographical distribution and L. diffusa is more southerly): "L. diffusa differs from the better-known L. williamsii by being yellowish-green, by having poorly developed podaria (elevated humps), and by being a softer, more succulent plant."

This is of course not a botanical description per se.

There's also the interesting differences in the chemistry of the two species. Anderson's own research showed that "mescaline is essentially absent from L. diffusa." (This has been disputed since then, although the amount of mescaline is so tiny in L. diffusa that perhaps that's what Anderson meant by "essentially absent.").

Anderson tipped his hand early (1980) as a lumper by only recognizing the two species and no varieties.

My experience has been: when you see the two plants side by side, it's instantly apparent they are different species. Unscientific? you betcha.

Nice plants though. I think it's ridiculous that they are illegal to own in the US, unless one is a practicing member of the Native American Church. Imagine growing L. williamsii from seed only to eat it, 15 years later. Not likely.

peterb
Loph
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Post by Loph »

Thats my thinking as well...very strange. L. diffusa is legal in the US is it not?

From my understanding yes difussa is southernly, but williamsii can also be found in most of diffusas range, no? the problem with that is with so many cultivated specimens who knows where they orignated anymore, unless collecting wild plants/seeds.

here is a quote from a site talking about morphology:

With this snippet of info i am planning on looking at the cell structure and pollen of mine (later in the year, after i recieve some seeds from them. they note the difference in pollen shape but also say it is VERY variable, so that is ruled out for keyin gthe specie. i am wondering if in fact we even know if they are different species....i cant see someone naming it a different specie based on flower colour, and distribution....that is just strange. have there being dna tests on these guys before?

i have "both" growing from seed now but only 2 larger ones. going by the guides that are listed everywhere it would be difussa due to its shape, texture, and colour. they are budding now so we shall see when they flower. any more input would be GREAT!
MORPHOLOGY
Morphological studies, including microscopic examinations, have provided much information about the disallowed - see forum rules and relationships of the cacti. Investigations of both vegetative and reproductive parts support the proposal that Lophophora is a distinct genus consisting of two species.

Vegetative parts—The growing point or apical meristem, located in the depressed center of the plant, is relatively large and similar to those found in other small cacti. The young leaf, which arises from the meristem, is difficult to distinguish from the expanding leaf base and subtending axillary bud. The leaf base, usually separated from the actual leaf by a slight constriction, grows rapidly to become the podarium, rib, or tubercle. Thus, the leaf base functions as the photosynthetic or food-producing part of peyote. With sufficient magnification the vestigial leaves of seedlings are often large enough to be identified, but they are never more than a microscopic hump in the vegetative shoot of mature peyote plants.

Spines occur only on young seedlings; adult plants produce spine primordia but they rarely develop into spines.

The caespitose or several-headed condition of the peyote cactus apparently occurs through the activation of adventive buds that appear on the tuberous part of the root-stem axis below the crown. Such growth often is the result of injury and almost always occurs if the top of the plant is cut off. However, some populations of peyote seem to have a greater tendency to develop the caespitose condition than do others.

Epidermal cells, usually five-to six-sided and papillose (nipple-like), have cell walls only slightly thicker than those of the underlying parenchyma cells. Sometimes a hypodermal layer can be recognized early in development, but as the stem matures it does not become specialized and never differentiates from the underlying palisade tissue. Normally the epidermis is covered by both cuticle and wax; the latter substance is primarily responsible for the blue-green or glaucous coloration of L. williamsii. Stomata are abundant, especially on the younger, photosynthetically active parts of the vegetative body. They are paracytic and usually subtended by large intercellular spaces. The subsidiary cells of a stoma usually are about twice the size of neighboring epidermal cells. Trichomes are persistent for many years in the form of tufts of hairs or "wool" arising from each areole. They tend to be uniseriate on the younger areoles but are often multiseriate on older ones.[27]Ergastic substances are evident in the cortex of peyote. Usually they are druses of calcium oxalate which often exceed 250 microns in diameter, but which rarely are found within one millimeter of the epidermal layer. These anisotropic crystals can be easily seen if fresh or paraffin-embedded sections are examined in polarized light. Mucilage cells do not occur in the vegetative parts of peyote but are found in flowers and young fruits.[28]

The chromosome number of peyote, like most other cacti, is 2n = 22. The root tip chromosomes are quite small, and apparently there is no variation from the basic chromosome number of the Cactaceae which is n= 11.

Reproductive parts—Peyote flowers, in contrast to those of other cactus genera such as Echinocactus and most of the Thelocacti, have naked ovaries or the absence of scales on the ovary wall, a character shared with the flowers of Mammillaria, Ariocarpus, Obregonia, and Pelecyphora. Thus, in Lophophora all floral parts are borne on the perianth tube above the ovule-containing cavity. The flower color of Lophophora varies from deep reddish-pink to nearly pure white; those of L. diffusa rarely exhibit any red pigmentation, making them usually appear white or sometimes a light yellow because of the reflection of yellow pollen from the center of the flower. Development of peyote flowers is much like that of Mammillaria.

Pollen of Lophophora is highly variable. Pollen of the Dicotyledonae tend to have three apertures or pores, while those of the Monocotyledonae usually have only one aperture. Peyote pollen varies greatly in aperture number, the northern population having 0-18 and the southern population 0-6. Though the grains are basically spheroidal and average about 40 microns in diameter, the varying numbers of colpae or apertures produce about twelve different geometric shapes. Such a variety from a single species or even population is rare in flowering plants. The pollen of L. diffusa has less variation than that of L. williamsii; it also has a much higher percentage of grains that are of the basic tricolpate (three-aperturate) type. Thus, the basic dicotyledon pattern is best observed in the southern population, whereas more complex grains occur in the northern localities. Small, tricolpate grains probably are more typical of the ancestors of the cacti and the more elaborate geometric designs of L. williamsii seem to represent greater evolutionary divergence and specialization.[29]

Fruits of peyote are similar to those of Obregonia and Ariocarpus in that they develop for about a year and then elongate rapidly at maturity. The fruits of Lophophora and Obregonia usually have only the upper half containing seeds whereas they are completely filled with seeds in Ariocarpus.

The seeds of Lophophora are black, verrucose (warty), and with a large, flattened, whitish hilum. They are virtually identical to those of Ariocarpus and Obregonia although there are some minor structural differences of the testa.

Lophophora seems to stand by itself in possessing a particular combination of morphological characters unlike any other group of cacti. Its nearest relatives appear to be the genera Echinocactus, Obregonia, Pelecyphora, Ariocarpus, and Thelocactus. The character of seeds, seedlings, areoles, and fruits certainly support the contention that peyote belongs in the subtribe Echinocactanae (sensu Britton and Rose) rather than in the more recently proposed "Strombocactus" line of Buxbaum. Perhaps the poorly understood genus Thelocactus may be the single most closely related group.[30]
Loph
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Post by Loph »

do you happen to have a source for andersons results? i would be interested to know what exactly he did to determine this. book, link, whatever.
mikayak
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Post by mikayak »

I had a very nice williamsii since 1977 - until last year when I accidentally killed it (long story).

I'd show it to folks and they would say stuff like "so, cool, I guess you're going to eat it? "

I would have to explain that, if anybody TOUCHED my peyote, I would kill them. If I ever thought I needed a "buzz" so badly that I would eat my only peyote, I would check myself into rehab somewhere.

It IS VERY annoying that here in "the land of the free", we are about the only folks in the world who are not allowed to own them. :?:
peterb
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Post by peterb »

Hi Loph- I highly recommend _Peyote: The Divine Cactus_, by Anderson published by The University of Arizona Press (the expanded edition copyright 1994, I think). It's one of the few fairly thorough ethnographies regarding cacti that I know of, as well as including a huge amount of information on pharmacology, etc. Amazon has it for about $15.

Organic chemistry long had several methods for extracting alkaloids from plant material and identifying them, which Anderson explains to some degree in his book.

Mesa Garden acknowledges several species in their seed list, including a diffusa with collection info from Querataro, the region diffusa is known to inhabit. I'm assuming trade in the varieties they list is legal whereas it is only L. williamsii that is a federally controlled plant. There was a law making its way through US Congress in the late 1980s to make all members of the genus Lophophora illegal but I believe it failed.

I have found members of this genus extremely easy to grow, despite being somewhat slow on their own roots. Seeds generally germinate well and they seem very resistant to pests and disease, which makes sense considering the amazing cocktail of "toxic" alkaloids they manufacture.

peterb
Loph
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Post by Loph »

excellent thanks a lot for the book title!

I too have a very easy time with these cacti. but they basically built to withstand anything but cold and wet. i generally have a good 90%+ germ rate and once they sprout i have never seen one die, and i hardly take GREAT care of them.

I will follow up with some flower shots when the 2 that are budding get a little more involved. is it right that fruits take 10-12 months?

I love the cacti, but they are certainly SLOW. that is probably one of the things that is so appealing though.

has anyone played with trying to get a cutting to give out a tap root? can you sort or "encourage" a "false" tap by root pruning? i know its rather pointless and risky for infection, but i am interested if anyone has tried.
peterb
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Post by peterb »

Hi Loph- I'm not sure if Lophophora cuttings generate a taproot or not. The only experience I have is rooting Peniocereus cuttings and they definitely regenerate tubers. I've heard the same is true for Wilcoxias.

peterb
GeneS
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Post by GeneS »

The December 2006 journal of the British Cactus and Succulent Society has an excellent article by Gorden Rowley on species, cultivars, etc in the genus Lophopora.

http://www.bcss.org.uk/20064.html

Back numbers are available if you can't find a copy among your normal contacts.

GeneS
YumAz
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Post by YumAz »

It IS VERY annoying that here in "the land of the free", we are about the only folks in the world who are not allowed to own them.
What is often overlooked in these journals and books is these cacti contain not only Mescaline, but many other types of Alkaloid. This vast array of Alkaloids are also found in many genera of cacti, including Echinopsis, Stetsonia, Obregonia, Espostoa, Pelecyphora, Coryphantha, Ariocarpus, Mammillaria, Gymnocalycium, Opuntia and of obvious significance here Turbinicarpus. It is not only genera of cacti which contain Alkaloids, many genera of the Mesembryanthemaceae also contain their share.
excerpt
http://www.mfaint.demon.co.uk/cactus/tu ... loids.html
http://www.au.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 68.html?32
The war on drugs is not a war on substances; it's a war on states of mind. Entheogens are not illegal because a loving government is concerned that you're going to hurt yourself by smoking pot or tripping in your bedroom. Entheogens are illegal because they make you question authority. They break down socially constructed fables and cleanse the doors of perception. They make you question the wrongs of society in a fundamental way, making you dangerous.
excerpt
http://fusionanomaly.net/prohibition.html
Loph
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Post by Loph »

thanks for the that! i will get it soon enough!

here is a picture of the big ones i am curious about. by most accounts it points to diffusa, yellowish, ribs, and soft. just waiting fo rthese flowers, not the fastest things around. they are grafted on dragon fruit (forgot latin...).

1 has 1 bud, the other has 2.

here are the first pics of a bunch i will soon be taking.

The bigger one:
Image
Image

the smaller one:
Image
mikayak
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Post by mikayak »

Hey Yuma - We'd probably be better for the Free-for-all on this one too. I'll start a thread over there if you wish to discuss it!
Loph
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Post by Loph »

although i agree with what you say, this is not so much about the politics and crap surrounding lophophora but about its biology, even chemistry, and classification.

Anyone have any thoughts on this one?
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