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Lophophora sp. forma cristata


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Lophophora sp. (williamsii?) forma cristata
Photo and © copyright by  Andrew Collin (Texas, USA)
Sometime a crested palnt produce some normal shoots. Which are not monstrous at all!  But all this very different forms are the same plant! They are epigenetic variation not genetic mutant!

Description: The Lophophoras are famous spineless cacti commonly known as "Peyote". The stem is often glaucous green, dull bluish or greyish green, very succulent, globular, top-shaped, or somewhat flattened with a woolly top. There are several different species, variety and forms (plus some intermediates and hybrid populations) In addition to the foregoing there exists an impressive array of cristates which forms nicely contorted and convoluted brain-like mounds. They are some of the more striking and priced crested cacti. They shows different crested shapes each of them has it own particular fascination.

The long time known L. williamsii 'Cristata' (Knuth-Knuthenborg in Den Nye Kakttisbo. 98. 1950) is the more common and famous, but more recently cristates of segregate species have been illustrated and given Japanese names by Sato (1999) as follows:

  • L. williamsii 'Ogataubatama Setsuka'
  • L. williamsii 'Ubatama Setsuka'
  • L. williamsii caespitosa Kobuki Ubatama Setsuka'
  • L. diffusa 'Suikangyoku Setsuka'
  • L. diffusa 'Suikangyokuhime Setsuka'
  • L. fricii 'Ginyangyoku Setsuka'

Crested Lophophoras are often sold grafted on columnar shaped cacti.

Lophophora diffusa var. fricii fa cristata
This is a degrafted and rooted plant .

The cause of cresting:
The cause of cresting is not fully explained;  biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning strike or freeze damage, but whatever the stimulus, the growth point of the stem has switched from a geometric point, to a line, which folds and undulates as the crest expands. Though these crested Lophophoras are somewhat rare (1 in 50,000), cresting occurs naturally throughout the range of the Lophophora, and can be encountered in many other cactus species.
In the ontogenesis a crest can appear any time, but development of crests on large columnar cactus species in the early stages of ontogenesis is unlikely. On the other hand, small species may crest early already at the cotyledons stage



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Lophophora sp. (various crested form)

Origin Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar) and habitat (Mexico)

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common English Names include: Crested peyote, Crested lophophora.

Lophophora williamsii 'cristata'

Cultivation: All Lophophora species are extremely slow growing, often taking up to thirty years to reach flowering age in the wild (about the size of a golf ball, not including its root). Human cultivated specimens grow considerably faster, usually taking from six to ten years to go from seedling to mature flowering adult.
Because of the tap root they are very rot prone, so use highly gritty compost with much drainage. Requires half shade to part sun. 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.
Keep completely dry and cool in winter (An unheated greenhouse would be perfect) or when night temperatures remain below 10° C,  it can survive low temperatures (appr. -7°C)  for a short period. Assure a good ventilation.

Specific tips for growing  the crested forms: The crests are frequently grafted onto columnar cacti but are easily grown on their own roots. Any normal shoots should be removed to promote the growth of the crest

Propagation: Grafting or cuttings in summer (Cuttings will root only in hot weather. Cuttings must be kept very dry to root). The sowing of seeds collected on crested specimen give occasionally raise to some crested plants, but whit a very low frequency. The seeds requiring hot and humid conditions to germinate.


Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Lophophora williamsii  complex
(This Taxon has  several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):

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.