Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-27
Common name: San Pedro cactus
The weirdest thing happened a few days ago. I was looking out the window and noticed the cactus was in bloom. It might not sound like a big deal, but when a cactus only blooms once a year -- and the flowers last for a day, maybe two -- it's an event.
I'm not absolutely positive, but I think this is a San Pedro cactus, a native of South America. They're tall, columnar, multi-stemmed cacti that are almost spine free. San Pedros are also called shamanic cacti. They've been used medicinally and in ritual ceremonies for thousands of years because they contain mescaline (or so I've heard. There are even a few sites on the internet that explain how to extract the stuff, but you didn't hear that from me.)
They thrive in sunny, warm environments, like Zones 8b through 10. Or they can be grown in pots indoors, but they're fast growers and can get as tall as 30 feet, so this is not something to keep on the dining room table. Unlike some cacti, San Pedros actually like being watered, although they can survive quite nicely in drought conditions, too.
San Pedros are insanely easy to grow. Just lop off a piece and stick it in some soil and go on about your business. With or without water, as long as it gets some sun, the cutting will grow. Trust me. Once in a while, a piece of the one growing in the backyard breaks off. If I don't happen to see it and move it to a new location, it develops roots and sprouts new columns. Pretty cool, huh?
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