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Echinopsis lageniformis

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Echinopsis lageniformis

Category
Kingdom Plantae
Division
Class
Order Caryophyllales
Family Cactus
Genus Echinopsis
Varieties in this species
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About

Echinopsis lageniformis (Syn. Trichocereus bridgesii) is a fast-growing columnar cactus from the high deserts of Bolivia. Among the indigenous populations of Bolivia, it is sometimes called achuma or wachuma, although these names are also applied to related species such as Echinopsis pachanoi which are also used for their psychedelic effects.[1]

The plant is a light green colour and usually has 4 to 8 ribs. It can grow 2–5 m tall with stems of up to 15–20 cm in diameter. Spines can range in colouration from honey-coloured to brown, and are located on the nodes in groups of up to 4. These spines can grow up to 6–7 cm in length and in fully grown plants are spaced evenly on the ribs, 2.5 to 3 cm apart.[2]

File:T bridgesii flower 05 JPG.jpg
Echinopsis lageniformis flowers

As with related species, it seems to have long shamanic tradition of use throughout its native habitat.[3] Chemical analysis of some variants of this species have shown it may include some of the most potent of the psychedelic Trichocereus species,[1] although this is not conclusive nor does it apply to all strains of the species. Outside of its native habitat, it is one of the least known and used of the Trichocereus cacti for either its psychoactive or ornamental uses. This is not true in areas where it is the dominant species, for example, the La Paz area of Bolivia.

A juvenile Echinopsis Lageniformis cactus that has been growing for roughly one year.

There exist several mutant varieties of this species that are highly prized by ornamental cactus collectors. These include a cristate variety, two variants of monstrose growth, and a more recently developed clone that exhibits both monstrose and cristate growth.[4] These all tend to be much slower growing than the standard form of the species, but owing to their highly unusual shapes, they are sought after by cactus collectors.

The report of a Trichocereus cactus called "The Cactus of the Four Winds", a cactus with four ribs, which is purportedly extremely entheogenically potent.[3] This has been called into question as the journal entry is from 1941 and is likely based upon subjective and non analytical data including the reports of native informants. It must also be noted that individuals within this species change their rib configurations with some alternating between a 4 to 6 rib configuration. Modern analysis hasn't yet shown any link between the number of ribs and alkaloid content. The suggestion of a squared (4 ribbed) plant is "more powerful" might be entirely metaphorical and relate to a native cultural value vs alkaloid content.

Chemistry

The plant contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids, in particular the well-studied chemical mescaline, which it may contain at levels higher than those of the San Pedro cactus.[3]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Madsen, Jens. "5. Echinopsis Zucc.". Flora of Ecuador (Gunnar Harling & Lennart Andersson) (35): 27–30. 
  2. Herrero-Ducloux, Enrique. "Datos quimicos sobre el Echinopsis eyriesii" (in Spanish). Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Quimicas Universidad Nacional de La Plata 2 (6): 43–49. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Maclay, W.S.; E. Guttman. "Mescaline hallucinations in artists". Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry (45): 130–137. 
  4. Rowley, Gordon (1978). Reunion of the Genus Echinopsis. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Succulents. New York: Crown Publishing. ISBN 0-517-53309-X..