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Visionary Cactus Guide


A large Genus of over 200 species, sacred to the Tarahumara, who use them as ritual entheogens. Plants characterized by many long, white spines and conical tubercles. Young plants form a cluster around the parent plant. Considered one of the more important species of false Peyote. The intoxication produced by several cacti of this species is followed by a deep sleep in which brilliant visuals are produced, during which time it is said a person can travel great distances. It appears that the fruit of most Mammilaria contain the same alkaloids as the parent plant. Most species are rich in a thick, latex sap. This Genus is named after the Latin word "mamilla" for breasts, because of the shape of the plants tubercles.

M. arizonica -

Can also be classified as Mammilaria grahamii. Native to Arizona, New Mexico and Eastern Texas.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. applanata -

Can also be classified as Mammilaria heyderi. Native from Northern Mexico to Texas and New Mexico where it is common and widespread.

Contains: N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine.

M. craigii -

( Wichiri ) A beautifully geometric globe-shaped cactus with iridescent purple and orange flowers. Has long tufts of white wool at the base of its spines. This plant is consumed by splitting it open and ingesting the central tissue, sometimes after being roasted. The top of the cactus is considered the most powerful part, but the rest of the plant and its fruit have similar effects. Native to Southwestern Chihuahua, Sierra Tarahumara, and in del Rio Urinique, Mexico.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. grahamii -

Cylindrical or globus, to 6 cm around with small tubercles and naked Axils. Violet or purple flowers sometimes with white edges. Native to desert grasslands of Chihuahua and Arizona. Valued by shamans who use this plant in special ceremonies. The fruit of this plant also possesses magical effects.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. heyderi -

A ball shaped cactus with geometric rings of low triangular tubercles. This plant has white spines and gorgeous pink to red flowers with iridescent centers, and red fruit. Several different varieties known to exist.

Contains: N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine.

M. heyderi var.hemisphaerica also contains the same psychoactive alkaloid.

M. longimamma ( De Candolle ) -

A cactus with long tubercles and large citrus scented flowers. Native to the Hidalgo state of Mexico, near Venados.

Reported to contain triterpenes, and alkaloids similar to epinephrine. Also reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. macromersis -

( Mulato ) The Tarahumares use this as one of their Peyote substitutes. Its use is claimed to prolong life, give great speed to runners, and help clarify vision to allow spiritual thoughts. Some question as to the true classification of this plant.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. magnimamma -

Native to the States of Hidalgo and Southern San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. meiacantha -

Native from the Southeast part of Arizona, to New Mexico and Texas, South into Zacatecas, Mexico.

Contains: N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine.

M. microcarpa -

Native to western Texas to the northern Mexican deserts. A small plant to 16 cm, with a conical growth habit. Small conical tubercles with no hair or bristles topped by an areole which is covered in numerous radial spines. Bears multiple pinkish-purple flowers. Can also be classified as Mammilaria millerii.

Contains: 3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine, hordenine, tyramine, N-methyltyramine.

M. pectinifera -

This cactus grows as small globes covered with white comb-like spines. Native to the State of Puebla, near Tehuacan, Mexico.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. senilis - A small, round Cactus with a slightly elongated stem, covered in long, white hairs. Native to Mexico, from the Chihuahua desert through the Sierra Madres, and South to Jalisco. Once classified as Mamilopsis senilis.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

M. vivipara -

This species can also be classified as Coryphantha vivipara.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.