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Stenocereus Hystrix

Discussion in 'Peyote & San Pedro' started by Eirias, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Eirias

    Eirias

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    In the plant sections of several large department-type
    store in my area (and throughout the continental US), within the
    'gardening' section of the store there are several small columnar cacti
    for sale. Some of them are clearly Mammilaria spp., but several
    of them are are Trichocereus spp., including T. Peruvianus.



    Now I can identify a Peruvianus pretty well by eye, and I've
    actually verified this spp. for other folks who were unsure (sometime
    they were correct, and other times it was a similar-looking, but
    unrelated spp.). This is all in spite of all the confusion this
    spp. has created over the years with over-simplified identification
    procedures and mis-identified specimens (occasionally for sale through
    various ethnobotanical suppliers).

    In fact, a very reliable cacti species database lists T.
    peruvianus as a 'variety' or 'subspecies' of T. pachanoi, and not as an
    entirely seperate spp. Considering also the large number of
    Trichocereus spp. which possess only subtle physical differences and
    identifying characteristics (and even within those spp. the rather
    broad variation of forms, varieties, and subspecies), one can see how
    correctly and properly identifying a given Trichocereus specimen can
    become more and more difficult.



    The point that this brings me to is-- just how broad are these
    characteristics?? And even if the specimen in question is not
    positively identified as the desired species, what is the likelihood of
    it having a similar alkaloid profile???



    A good illustration of the latter point involves a highly
    reputable ethnobotanical supplier which received/collected a quantity
    of cactus specimens and tissue which they were certain (or at least led
    to believe) was T. peruvianus. All the positively-identifying
    traits were present, or so they thought, until it was brought to their
    attention that that cactus in question was indeed another species
    altogether (albeit a related one), namely Stenocereus (Ritterocereus) hystrix, which is
    native to the Carribean and not the Andean highlands. However,
    upon bioassay research and careful testing via chromatography, it was
    clear beyond any doubt that this species was indeed "active" and in
    fact possessed a very simialr alkaloid profile and content to T.
    peruvianus!



    Basically I am considering obtaining some of these interesting
    cacti from the dept. store I mentioned above for ornamental purposes,
    but I would like to know exactly what they are!

    God, it's even possible that they could even be hybrids, as there are two specimens look exactly like San Pedro cacti, except they possess very fine, tiny spines about 2-3 millimeters in length</span>. My experience (and the wisdom of others whom I trust on the matter) has always taught me that T. pachanoi NEVER has spines</span>-- so is this an entirely different spp., a hybrid, or an exception to the "rule of thumb"?

    In addtion to those, there are about 4 of them that I am 99%
    sure are peruvianus spp., and about 2 or 3 that my be T. bridgesii or
    something like that. I am less confident in positively
    identifying the ones that look like T. bridgesii, as this spp. is
    markedly different in appearance than either T. peruvianus or T.
    pachanoi, and there are several unrelated spp. of cacti that IMHO look
    a lot like how T. bridgesii is supposed to appear.



    So what's that point of all this? I suppose it's this--
    besides hiring a botanist that specializes in the Cactaceae, or
    undergoing a potnetialy risky subjective bioassay, how can one be sure,
    or at least reasonably certain that they are dealing with a particular
    given spp. that has been positively-identified correctly?



    Perhaps another spin on this contemplative argument is this:

    Although most psilocybin-active mushrooms are in the genus
    Psilocybe (occasionally called Stropharia), they nearly all share
    certain physical characteristics that are related to their alkaliod
    content. For example, if a given mushroom yields a purple-brown
    spore-print, has a gelatinous pellicle, and produces a bluing reaction
    when handled or "bruised", is is very like a psilocybian (i.e.
    psilocyin-containing) mushroom, regardless of the specific genus or
    species. The bluing reaction in particular is a result of the
    presence of concentrated amounts of indole-type alkaloids.

    Now, could there be a certain set of physical traits and/or
    characteristics involving cacti that could serve as indicators of the
    presence of certain phenethylamine alkaloids?? Clearly their is a
    lot of biomorphic diversity within the Cactaceae, however, there are
    certainly traits that are, for example, more-or-less common to all
    members of the genus Trichocereus.

    Furthermore, I have heard both from cultivators of these cacti
    as well as various lay researchers that the more potent specimens tend
    to have a more "bluish" hue to their flesh-- similar to psilocybian
    mushrooms. Could this possibly suggest a set of characteristics
    that would allow one to possibly discern or determine if a given cactus
    species or a particular specimen might be rich in certain alkaloids??

    I am not jumping to any conclusions just yet, rather I am simply wondering about the potential for such a thing.


    I'll try to post pics of the cacti I mentioned-- as I will
    probably purchase them since they are affordable, interesting, and just
    the right size to begin rapid growth, even if I am not quite 100%
    positive about their identities!




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    Edited by: Eirias
     
  2. jaguarangel

    jaguarangel

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    It seems that one of the biggest nurseries puts out a few really great Trich.
    cacti that are unamed. If you can i.d. it, buy it! The new San Pedro book is
    excellent in Trich. i.d. The spines and even more the flowers are helpful in
    the i.d. of this very confusing genus.
     
  3. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member

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    Stenocereus Hystrix is for sale at several ethnobotanical stores. Here is some info on it:


    This is a truly unique cactus as it is the only species that is known from outside Southern America and Mexico to contain similar alkaloids to Lophophora williamsii and Trichocereus Peruvianus! Actually chemically it is extremely similar to Lophophora williamsii. This species is found in the West Indies and could be used in places where Peyote ceremonies can be legally conduced if Peyote was not available or as alternative more economical entheogen. It has indeed been analyzed via HPLC, GC/MS and TLC. All reports are conclusive and active in the desired alkaloids. Truly, a very special cactus.


    [​IMG]


    Does anyone have experience with it yet?