Where Do Peyote Cactus Grow

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), a type of hallucinogenic cactus also known as mescal button (family Cactaceae). Only limestone soils in the Chihuahuan Desert in southern Texas and northern Mexico contain peyote.

The body of the peyote cactus is soft, spineless, and, in most cases, blue-green to gray-green in color. It measures an average of eight centimeters (three inches) in width and five centimeters (two inches) in height. It can take a plant 1030 years to develop and blossom because to its extremely slow growth. It blooms in the summer with pink to white flowers, and the fruit matures the following year.

Can a peyote cactus be grown?

Early April is the ideal time to start peyote seeds. First, create a soil mixture that is suitable for peyote. In nature, limestone and extremely arid, sometimes stony soil are where peyote patches are frequently discovered in the best condition. Commercial cactus and succulent mixtures save all the bother associated with creating a cactus soil mixture and are excellent for growing peyote. Use one part sand, one part heavy grit, and one part regular potting mix if you like a combination with a rougher texture.

Leave space at the top of the pots for easy watering after adding the soil mixture and tamping it down. Soak the soil completely, and then let the pots sit in the shade for a day to let the water drain completely. You are now ready to plant the seeds. There is no need to cover the seeds; just scatter them over the soil’s surface. In the wild, they simply drop to the ground and survive pretty well.

With tape or elastic bands, cover the pots with a piece of clear plastic. Use opaque sandwich wrap instead; it is more durable for what comes next. 22 Celsius is the ideal soil temperature for healthy peyote. It will thrive on a south-facing window sill or, better yet, on the ground next to a heating vent in direct sunlight. Ideal and reasonably priced to use are heating mats. By utilizing an electric blanket, you don’t run the risk of setting your home on fire because they provide accurate temperatures.

What height does peyote reach?

Up to a year after flowering, a young plant may take anywhere between three and fifteen years to attain reproductive maturity before the fruit abruptly ripens.

Geographic Region:

It can only be found in southern Texas, close to the Mexican border, in the United States. Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Len, San Luis Potos, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas are other Mexican states where it can be found.


Peyote loves gravelly clay and loam soils on mild slopes and may survive at heights of up to 1,900 meters (6230 feet) above sea level. It is primarily found in the Chihuahuan Desert and mountain scrublands of northern Mexico.

Vulnerability of Habitat/Changes of Habitat Quality and Availability:

The natural range of this cactus is mostly protected from development because of how rough and harsh its habitat is, but the part of the habitat near the US-Mexico border may become a problem because of the expanding border communities and infrastructure in the region.

Ability to Withstand Disturbance and Overharvest:

Since peyote demand has increased, less knowledgeable harvesters are taking larger portions of the plant than necessary, which has resulted in a steady decline in the population of L. williamsii. Responsible wild harvesters will only remove a portion of the cactus’ top and leave a few millimeters for it to grow back.

Status of Endangered/Threatened (by state):

Peyote is “subject to special protection in Mexico and is on a list of species at risk of extinction in the country,” despite the fact that there are no state or federal safeguards in place for it there.

Part of Plant Used/Active Medicinal Compounds:

Mescaline, an alkaloid, is the substance that makes peyote active. Large concentrations of this alkaloid are present in the fleshy part of the cactus, which is located above the root.

Although it is listed as a Schedule I banned narcotic in the US, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 protects its usage in religious rituals by Native American tribes in the southwest.

Wild Harvesting Impact On Other Species:

Poachers frequently mix up the severely endangered cactus Astrophytum asterias with L. williamsii due to their striking resemblance. The demand for each cactus in black markets fuels the illegal extraction of these two species.

Recommendations for Industrial and Home Use:

Before using or growing L. williamsii, make sure to research the legal status of this cactus in your state or nation.

In a controlled greenhouse environment, this cactus is actually quite simple to grow and multiply, negating the need for practitioners to gather it from the wild. In fact, growing it in a greenhouse can shorten the plant’s maturation period by a number of years, especially if it is grafted onto another cacti species.

Possession of a peyote cactus is legal.

According to HSC 11363, it is illegal to:

  • plant,
  • cultivate,
  • harvest,
  • dry, or
  • process

any member of the Lophophora williamsii genus, also known as peyote (a schedule I controlled substance).

Please be aware that under California’s possession of a controlled substance statute, simply possessing this psychedelic drug is illegal. Under HSC 11363, cultivating peyote is a more serious offense than simply possession. 2

Can peyote be grown in the US?

The First Nations culture has long used the spineless cactus known as peyote (Lophophora williamsii) in rituals. Unless you are a member of the Native American Church, it is forbidden to grow or consume the plant in the United States. U.S. authorities believe the herb to be deadly, but First Nations people use it as a ceremony and a means of achieving both spiritual and personal enlightenment.

Although cultivating peyote is prohibited unless you are a NAC member, it is a fascinating plant with qualities that are worth understanding about. However, you can produce peyote plant clones at home that will sate your desire to grow this adorable little cactus without breaking the law.

Does Nevada have a peyote plant?

A little, spineless cactus known as the peyote (/peoti/; Lophophora williamsii/lffrwlimzia) is known to contain hallucinogenic alkaloids, including mescaline.


The Spanish term “peyote” comes from the Nahuatl word “pejot,” which means “caterpillar cocoon” and is derived from the verb peyni, which means “to shine.”



[6] Southwest Texas and Mexico are the original home of peyote. The Sierra Madre Occidental, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the states of Nayarit, Coahuila, Nuevo Len, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potos are where it is most frequently seen among scrub. It blooms between March and May, and occasionally as late as September. The pink flowers have thigmotactic anthers (like Opuntia).

Peyote has at least 5,500 years of entheogenic and therapeutic use by indigenous North Americans and is well-known for its hallucinogenic effects when taken.

Is peyote a Texas native?

Since at least several thousand years ago, people in North America have utilized peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus that is native to some portions of Texas and Mexico. The first rule outlawing the usage of peyote for ceremonial purposes was introduced during the Spanish Conquest.

Does Oklahoma have a peyote plant?

Recently, I went back to Oklahoma City. I decided to see if I could locate any of these intriguing plants in a location where they can be found in a variety of stem forms and spine colors after learning that Echinocereus reichenbachii is numerous in the millions in Oklahoma. Many of the state parks in western Oklahoma have E. reichenbachii growing there, but after doing some research, I chose to go to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a short drive from OKC (take Highway 44 southwest for about an hour, then take the Medicine Park exit just north of Lawton). In addition to cacti, the refuge is home to a rare remnant mixed grass prairie, an island where the native grasslands were spared destruction because the granite outcrops made the land impossible to plow.

The variety Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus was present in all the Echinocereus plants I discovered (or Echinocereus baileyi if you consider it a full species). Particularly if moss is also growing in the fissures, it appears that the plants prefer to grow in the granitic rock fissures.

South-east of Mount Scott, amid the broad prairie grasslands, are the flora depicted. The majority of the plants appear to be unharmed by the bison and longhorn herds that are grazing; I would have thought that such a massive animal could trample an Echinocereus underfoot without even realizing it, but it doesn’t appear to be the case.

Additionally, I came across a few Opuntia plants—likely O. phaeacantha—with stunning carmine-red fruits. The plant in the picture is found on the southern bank of Quanah Parker Lake, which bears the same name as the famous Native American Church leader Quanah Parker.

I wished I had more time to explore the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge because it is a fascinating location (unfortunately I had to deal with delayed baggage, limiting the visit to half a day). If you’re seeking for bison or Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus (also known as Echinocereus baileyi), it comes highly recommended.

Is peyote OK for use in religion?

The traditional ceremonial use of the peyote cactus as a religious sacrament has long been a vital part of many Indian people’s way of life and an important factor in preserving Indian tribes and civilizations;

Indians have been using peyote ceremonially since 1965, and this practice is permitted by federal law;

22 States have not done so, and this lack of uniformity has made it difficult for Indian people who take part in such religious ceremonies; at least 28 States have passed laws that are similar to, or are in compliance with, the Federal regulation that protects the ceremonial use of peyote by Indian religious practitioners;

Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the Supreme Court of the United States determined that the First Amendment does not protect Indian practitioners who use peyote in Indian religious ceremonies and cast doubt on whether this religious practice would be protected under the standard of compelling State interest; and

Lack of proper and unambiguous legal protection for Indians’ usage of peyote for religious purposes may contribute to stigmatize and isolate Indian tribes and cultures and raise the possibility that they may face discrimination.

Peyote use, possession, or transit by an Indian for legitimate traditional ceremonial purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is legal and shall not be outlawed by the United States or any State, regardless of any other legal provisions. No Indian shall be punished or subjected to discrimination on the basis of such use, possession, or transportation, including, but not limited to, the denial of benefits under public assistance programs that might otherwise be available.

This section does not preclude the Drug Enforcement Administration from reasonably regulating and registering anyone who grow, harvest, or distribute peyote in a way that furthers the goals of this part and section 1996 of this chapter.

The application of section 481.111(a) of Vernon’s Texas Health and Safety Code Annotated, which went into effect on October 6, 1994, inasmuch as it deals with the growth, harvest, and distribution of peyote, is not prohibited by this section.

Nothing in this section prevents any federal department or agency from establishing reasonable restrictions on the use or consumption of peyote before or during the performance of duties by sworn law enforcement officers, personnel directly involved in public transportation, or any other safety-sensitive positions where the performance of those duties may be negatively impacted by it. Representatives of traditional Indian faiths, which include the sacramental use of peyote in their practices, shall be consulted before such regulations are implemented. Any rule made in accordance with this section must pass the balancing test outlined in Section 3 of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103141; 42 U.S.C. 2000bb1).

This clause is not meant to be interpreted as mandating or disallowing prison administration to allow Indian inmates access to peyote while they are housed in federal or state jail institutions.

This section shall not be interpreted to prevent States from passing or implementing reasonable road safety laws or regulations, subject to the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103141; 42 U.S.C. 2000bb1) [42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.].

This section does not prevent the Secretary of Defense from issuing regulations that set reasonable restrictions on the use, possession, transportation, or distribution of peyote in order to advance military readiness, safety, or compliance with foreign or domestic law, subject to the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103141; 42 U.S.C. 2000bb1). Representatives of traditional Indian faiths, which include the sacramental use of peyote in their practices, shall be consulted before such regulations are implemented.

Are peyote plants for sale?

Mauro Morales posted a sign with his name and contact information in his front yard after receiving a license from the state of Texas to distribute peyote in 1990: “Peyote supplier Sell or Buy Peyote.

His neighbors objected, claiming that drawing so much attention to his enterprise must be illegal. “I told Austin, “I assume everything is legal,” when I called. I have the papers here. Why can’t I erect a sign? recalled Morales.

The sign is still up twenty years later, but Morales is finding it more difficult than ever to support himself. Because many ranchers no longer permit peyote harvesters on their property and instead choose to plow the grayish-green plant under so cattle may graze, the hallucinogenic cactus is getting harder to find. Others now rent out their land to oil and gas corporations or game hunters.

The remaining stocks are overharvested as a result, increasing the scarcity of peyote “According to Morales, one of only three Americans with a license to sell peyote, which grows naturally in four Texas counties near the border with Mexico, things are somewhat slowing down each year.

Except for a few sacred ceremonies performed by American Indians, peyote is prohibited by federal law. The state has authorized a restricted number of people to sell it to members of the Native American Church since the middle of the 1970s.

The legalization of marijuana for recreational use was just defeated by California voters, and a drug war threatens to destabilize Mexico. But Morales claims that his company is straightforward and honest.

Seven workers work for Morales, 67, and they look for peyote plants to harvest “Buttons are tiny, rounded growths that contain the mind-altering substance mescaline, which causes a delirious state that lasts up to 12 hours and feels dreamy.

The buttons are typically chewed on, smoked, or boiled in water to generate drug-infused tea. Depending on the user and the strength of each plant, different amounts of buttons may be required to experience psychedelic effects.

Even four years ago, Morales’ men were bringing in 10,000 buttons per day. Today, they bring in approximately 3,000. At the age of 14, American Indian elders instructed him how to cut the buttons without damaging the roots, and he started gathering peyote. Back then, each button had to be at least the size of a half dollar and could be sold to wholesalers for a cent.

No of the size, Morales now pays his harvesters 15 cents per button. “Half dollar-sized coins are no longer available, he claimed.

The new peyote plants resemble giant green teeth. Plants rarely grow larger than an orange, even when fully developed.

As known “Peyoteros, who distribute peyote, track down the cactus using information from local families, and they are well familiar with all routes and paths.

The best locations are typically on rocky hillsides without sand in the soil. Harvesters frequently can only search until early afternoon due to the extreme heat, and they also occasionally have to deal with rattlesnakes.

In comparison to almost 1.48 million buttons with a value of $471,000 in 2008, peyote distributors sold more than 1.5 million buttons last year, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Tela Mange. However, distributors sold more than 2.3 million buttons in the middle of the 1990s, according to Morales and Salvador Johnson, a different authorized peyote dealer.

Mange claimed that since the work has gotten harder, there are fewer licensed distributors in Texas. The same alterations have been seen by experts.

“According to Martin Terry, a biology professor at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, the cactus develops slowly, forcing the peyoteros to go back too early and pick re-growth buttons. In an effort to protect several species, including peyote, he co-founded the Cactus Conservation Institute.

According to Johnson, who sells peyote in Mirando City, some 90 miles north of Rio Grande City, which is also noted for its abundant mesquite tree population, harvesters once regularly unearthed 100- to 150-year-old plants but now typically settle for cacti that are less than five years old.

Teodosio Herrera, the 30-member Rio Grande Native American Church’s spiritual leader, refers to peyote “Everyone who engages in legal cactus trade refers to their product as the medicine. He claimed that the issue of premature button removal is made worse by poachers who mistakenly harvest peyote, damaging the roots and preventing the plants from regenerating.

“According to Herrera, 62, if we don’t take action to assure survival, it might not exist for my great-grandchildren.

Outside of Texas, no other state in the U.S. has commercial peyote cultivation. The only other authorized peyote dealer, besides Morales and Johnson, is Morales’ nephew, who is also located in Rio Grande City. 90% of peyote is grown in Mexico, yet it is typically not lucrative enough to be brought into the US illegally. For $35, Morales will offer 100 buttons.

According to him, there used to be poachers who harvested their own peyote and illegally sold it on the side of the road, but their numbers have declined in tandem with the supply.

Every year, Morales serves 300–500 people. The purchasers must be Native American Church members and at least 75% American Indian. They must complete documentation and provide information about their tribe.

The church dates its beginnings to the 1880s, just after the slaughter at Wounded Knee, when a new faith called the “American Indians developed the ghost dance. According to some estimates, the church may now have 500,000 worshipers and branches in more than 20 states.

Herrera has seven peyote-based ceremonial gatherings each year for his church’s followers, who are dispersed throughout South Texas. He tends to take the lead more often at formal events like weddings and funerals.

“Hippies were experimenting with it, especially in the 1960s, according to Herrera. “It has always been a form of spiritual medicine to us.

Slightly balding and gregarious, Morales is extremely hard of hearing but also fluent in both English and Spanish. His wife, a Chihuahua who sleeps in a rusted bird cage, and he all reside in the same house.

A large portion of Morales’ clients come to him to get fresh peyote, which he prepares using a tomato slicer and distributes in gunny sacks. Additionally, he will ship dry buttons across the country.

To use the peyote, many customers stay on his property. Having a brick altar surrounded by a peyote garden in his backyard, where chickens scurry around and insects feast on any exposed flesh, is Morales’s possession.

He has wooden containers housing 1,000 peyote buttons in varying ages in an adjacent shed. He usually has 20,000 worth of inventory on hand.

Smoothness can be found in fresh peyote. Older buttons develop gnarliness and may even produce external seedlings like potato eyeballs. The cactus has a yellow interior that initially appears moist before drying out over time. The button gets mushy and covered in bruises after about a month.

Morales avoided consuming peyote for years since it was illegal for him to do so. But he now admits to using it occasionally with his morning coffee.

He said it made his heart disease better. He approaches his altar once a day, crosses himself, and says a little prayer of gratitude.

“After some time, it starts to feel nice in your head, he claimed. “The creator created the plants. I give that a lot of thought.