Tsuwiri Cactus Seeds (Ariocarpus retusus) the “False Peyote" of Huichol Tradition

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Common Names: Tsuwiri or the false Peyote, Chaute, Chautle, Peyote
Botanical Name: (Ariocarpus retusus)

Description: Tsuwiri (Ariocarpus retusus) is a species of cactus, from the genus Ariocarpus, found mainly in Mexico. It is one of the largest and fastest-growing species of this genus, known for its slow growth.

Ethnobotanical History: May have been used to treat malaria by some peoples in Mexico. (Voogelbreinder 2009, 91) Known as a species of false Peyote held sacred and feared by the Huichol tribe. (Furst, P.T. “Ariocarpus Retusus, the ‘False Peyote’ of Huichol Tradition.” Economic Botany 25 (1971): 182–187.) Tsuwiri reportedly causes undesirable psychological effects, ‘because it is capable of sorcery and deception.’ Whether or not the psychological effect truly is bad or not is unclear, because later it states that true Huichols do not eat this plant. Only the deceived and evil Huichols will consume the plant. Thus, it implies that those that eat the plant are already to some degree psychologically “impure.” In any case, the chemistry of the plant can be analyzed to determine the active ingredients. It contains hordenine, N-methyltryamine in fairly small amounts (about 0.02 percent) and traces of N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-phenethylamine, and N-methyl-4-B- phenethylamine. Aside from these alkaloids, it also contains a flavone called retusin (3,3',4',7-tetramethoxy-5-hydroxyflavone). However, some have claimed that these constituents seem in too small of doses to ever cause a psychological effect (Gottlieb 1997). The Huichol believe that those who transgress the Huichol ethical code or have not ceremonially purified themselves prior to the collection of peyote (L. williamsii) will be led to "tsuwíri" (A. retusus) by supernatural forces and suffer "terrible psychic agonies." They consider tsuwíri a "false peyote" due to its undesirable effects, claiming it is an evil plant that will drive people mad if ingested, and that can also cause permanent insanity. It is considered akin to "kiéri" (Datura meteloides=D. inoxia), a dangerous deliriant Solanaceae species, due to its initial ability to cause seemingly pleasant visual and auditory hallucinations that later mislead the pilgrim away from the group. He will then travel through many terrifying perils, of poisonous creatures, large beasts, and deep pits, leaving him "scratched, full of blood, tired, worn out." He will find himself with "so many cactus spines, so many thorns everywhere," in his clothes, feet, and hands. (M.S. Smith-Sacramental and Medicinal Cacti 2002).

Quantity:  10 seeds per pack

Cultivation: Expert growers only - if you do not have experience growing cacti from seed, we recommend you try an easier species first, such as (Trihcochocereus scopulicola). This species is easy to get seeds to sprout, but then great care is required to keep seedlings alive for the first two years. After that they are away. Good luck growing this interesting and sacred species.

Warning: Our Cacti and Cacti Seeds are supplied with the intention of protecting biodiversity and to offer our customers some amazing ethnobotanical collection pieces. NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. Some of these specimens may be poisonous. Please handle all specimens accordingly. Keep them out of reach from children and animals.

Shipping Restrictions: We do not ship this product outside New Zealand.

*Special thanks to Stan Shebs for the beautiful pic of Ariocarpus retusus.