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Lophophora diffusa


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Lophophora diffusa

Description: Globular spineless cactus with large tap root. Solitary or forming variable stemmed clumps with few stems or sometime large mounded group with several heads. This is the more primitive species of Lophophora.
Stem: 2-7 cm tall, 5-12 cm in diameter (some population have larger stems up to 20-25 cm in diameter) Yellow-green or grey-green, usually lacking well-defined ribs and furrows.
Ribs: 5 to 13 the podaria are rarely elevated, wavy, broad and flat.
Areoles: With tufts of hairs that usually spread unequally on the prominent podaria.
Flowers: Commonly whitish to yellowish-white (or pinkish white), 1,5-3 centimetres in diameter.

L. diffusa VM 205 North of Vizarrón, QRO, Mx.

L. diffusa VM 23 Queretaro, QRO, Mexico





Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific Name: Lophophora diffusa (Croizat) Bravo
Published in: Cact. Succ. Mex. 12: 13, 1967

Etymology: diffusa = outspread; with regard to the flat tubercles that are outspread on the plants body without clear ribs or evident spiral.

Common Name: False peyote.

Origin: This is the southernmost population of Lophophora endemic of the of the state of Querétaro, México it grows only in a small area in the hight desert between Vizarron, Bucareli, and Toliman. L. diffusa occurs at the south end of the range of the genus.

Habitat: Driest and stoniest desert Xerophytic shrubland. L. diffusa grows mainly beneath the canopy of some locally dominant shrub and possible nurse plant (e.g. Larrea tridentata and Acacia sororia)

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

This is a relative of Lophophora williamsii, the true Peyote. It  has many morphological and chemical differences and does not contain the same substances as L. williamsii. This species contains none to trace amounts of mescaline as the Peyote. But it does contain a lot of other alkaloids the principal of which is pellotine. It is not narcotic and is not specifically named in the law, and probably legal to possess.


  • Lophophora echinata var. diffusa Croizat 1944
  • Lophophora williamsii var. diffusa (Croizat) Rowley 1979
  • Lophophora diffusa var. koehresii Riha 1996,
  • Lophophora williamsii var. koehresii (Riha) Grym 1997
  • Lophophora diffusa subsp. viridescens Halda 1997,
  • Lophophora viridescens (Halda) Halda 1997
  • Lophophora diffusa var. fricii Halda 1997
  • Lophophora diffusa var. kubesai Halda, Kupcak et Malina
  • Lophophora diffusa var. swobodaiana Halda, Kupcak et Malina
  • Lophophora ziegleri Werdermann
  • Lophophora ziegleriana Soulaire

Cultivation: Slow growing Requires half shade in summer, full sun the rest of the year.
Grow it in a narrow and deep container to accommodate the tap root, they are very rot prone, so use highly gritty compost with much drainage.
Waterings should be rather infrequent to keep the plant compact and not to become excessively elongated and unnatural in appearance, watering it properly is often difficult because this plant tends to crack open or rot if over-watered. The fact that the plant retracts into the soil and assume a grey-green colouring between watering, is perfectly natural and doesn’t cause any damage.
Like other arid zone cacti, they require a dry and cool over-wintering otherwise they may succumb to rot. It also promotes flowering. Assure a good ventilation.

Propagation: Seeds.
Seed should be sown in spring in sterile cacti mix. Cover with a humidity dome or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot in 50-75% shade. Fluctuating temperatures are best (ie. high day temperature and low night temperature) as they simulate the desert environment.
Keep constantly humid as seedlings cannot survive if to dry. Seedlings will emerge in 7-21 days and can be grown in the same environment for a number of months. Mulch with thin layer of small quartz gravel (1-2mm diameter) this helps them stay upright, hinders algae growth and regulates moisture. As they get older the watering can become less frequent. Potting up can be done when 5-10mm in diameter.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Lophophora diffusa.


Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery Lophophora


Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art file are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.