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Visionary Cactus Guide


This genus is comprised of 70 known species which are generally characterized as a small, globular, somewhat flattened spiny cactus. The tubercles are usually arranged in 13 rows tipped with small radial spines. Several species of this Genus contain alkaloids which are chemically similar to epinephrine. Nearly all species are native to Mexico. The name of this Genus is derived from the Greek "koryphe" for summit and "anthos" for flower.

Popular with collectors and easy to grow, these Cacti are regularly found for sale at nurseries and discount stores.

C. bumamma -

Native to the Morelos and Guerrero states of Mexico.

Contains:hordenine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine, N-methyl-4-methoxy-phenethylamine.

C. calipensis -

Native to the Puebla and Calipan regions of Mexico.

Contains: (-) calipamine, hordenine, normacromerine, N-methyltyramine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-B-methoxy-phenethylamine, N,N-dimethyl-3-4-dimethoxy-B-methoxy-phenethylamine.

C. compacta -

(Wichuri, Bakana or Bakanawa) Native to the Chihuahua and Cosihuirachi regions of Mexico. This cactus is both greatly respected and feared by the Tarahumara Indians. Has small yellow flowers singly or in pairs arising from the center of the crown.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

C. cornifera -

Native to the state of Hidalgo, around Ixmiquilpan, in Mexico.

Contains: hordinine, 4-methoxy-phenethylamine, synepherine, N-methyltyramine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine, 4-methoxy-B-hydroxy-phenethylamine.

C. durangensis -

Native to the Mexican state of Durango.

Contains: hordenine, synepherine, N-methyltyramine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine.

C. elephantidens -

Native to the Mexico state of Michoacan.

Contains: macromerine, hordenine, synepherine, N-methyltyramine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine, 4-methoxy-B-hydroxy-phenethylamine.

C. greenwoodii -

Native to the Acultzingo Valley in Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Contains: (-) coryphantine, hordenine, O-methylcandicine, (-) B-O-methylnormacromerine, B-O-methylsynepherine, normacromerine, (-) normacromerine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine.

C. kieferiana -

Also known as Coryphantha poselgeriana. (see below)

C. macromeris -

( Dona ana ) A fairly popular and common cluster-habit, large mound forming cactus with nipple-like protrusions and long spines. Well known and respected by with many Native American shamans. Native to a wide region including Northern Mexico, Texas and New Mexico.

Contains: macromerine.

C. macromeris v.runyonii -

Native to the Rio Grande area of Texas.

Contains: hordenine, macromerine (.003%), N-formylmacromerine (.008%), normacromerine (.08%), N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine, N-methyl-4-methoxy-phenethylamine, metanephrine, tyramine, synepherine, N-methyltyramine, N-methylmetanephrine.

C. missouriensis -

Could also be classified as Escobaria missouriensis. Native to the central U.S. from Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, to Colorado and Kansas.

Contains: hordenine, tyramine, N-methyltyramine, N-methyl-3-4-dimethoxy-phenethylamine.

C. ottonis -

Contains: hordenine, synepherine, 4-methoxy-phenethylamine, N-methyltyramine.

C. palmeri ( Britton & Rose ) -

A small, pale green, spherical prickly cactus growing up to 8 cm wide. Has conical tubercles arranged in 13 overlapping rows, with each areole having 11 - 14 thick, radial, yellow spines. Also used by North central Mexican shamans for divination. Native to the Mexican states of Durango, Zacatecas, Coahuila and San Luis Potosi. First discovered in 1904 by Edward Palmer, growing on the rocky ridges of the Sierra Magdalena.

Requires a very course sand and gravel soil mix. Let soil dry out completely before watering, these Cactus will rot if overwatered. Propagate by seed or shoots, if a mature plant has tillered.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

C. pectinata -

Also classified as Coryphantha radians. (see below)

C. poselgeriana -

Also known as Coryphantha kieferiana. Native to the Mexico state of Coahuila, near Saltillo.

Contains: hordenine, synepherine, 4-methoxy-phenethylamine, N-methyltyramine.

C. radians ( de Candolle ) -

Native to Hidalgo and surrounding states in central Mexico. Was once classified as a Mammillaria radians. Plant characterised by a spherical stem to 7 cm across, being almost completely covered in radial spines. Tubercles are arranged in a spiral and topped with 16 - 18 thick, straw colored spines. Has large lemon yellow flowers. Much variability within the species in the type of spines displayed.

Requires partial shade and a very porous, well drained soil. Will tolerate some cold if kept dry. Propagate by seed.

Contains: hordenine, N-methyltyramine.

C. ramillosa -

Native to Texas.

Contains: hordenine, N-methyl-4-methoxyphenethylamine, B-O-methylsynepherine, N-methyltyramine, synepherine.

C. vivipara -

Native to the American desert from Southern Utah, Southwestern Colorado, to Arizona and New Mexico.

Contains: hordenine.