San Pedro Cactus Blooms

Happy Labor Day from our San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi). A friend gave us a large piece that we planted sometime before the pandemic. This morning it decided to put out at least 12 flowers all at once.

When I woke up at 6:30 a.m. a cloud of bees was working the nectar and pollen. Around 9 a.m. some figeater beetles (Cotinis mutabilis) showed up. Figeater beetles like cactus fruit so I’m guessing they were attracted to the smell.

The green parts of the plant contain mescaline which is used in Andean traditional medicine. It also makes an edible and (non-psychedelic) fruit. The plant is easily confused with the more common Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana).

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    • Although cultivation of the San Pedro cactus is legal, consumption or preparation of the psychedelic components is not and to admit doing so in a public forum would be very unwise.

    • Indeed. For the record I won’t be partaking but I do think psychedelics should be decriminalized. We are at an interesting point in the dialog on these substances. On one side I think they have the potential to be enormously helpful to a lot of people. But they also are not a silver bullet and I’m worried about efforts to commercialize and popularize their use.

    • True dat.

      I hope more people do partake, since this cactus is so readily available. Like growing your own catnip or mint.

      Only shaving the green skin and boiling, so simple. like drinking lemon grass tea; or

      Like reading “Fall, or Dodge in Hell” by Neal Stephenson, I suppose.

  1. The blossoms are beautiful individually and the whole must be stunning to people as well as insects.

    I hope it gives you pleasure for a long time.

    • Thank you Rainey. The blossoms only last for one day. So you have to appreciate this fleeting moment when it happens.

    • It’s about 5 feet tall–our friend gave us this piece which we just stuck in the ground before the pandemic. They are slow growing. Eventually it will start to send off side shoots. Mature specimens are the size of a small to medium tree.

  2. wow gorgeous!- a San Pedro outside and not sitting inside on a windowsill. Consider yourself lucky as hot and dry climate people to be able to support such delights in your yards~

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