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San Pedro: Trichocereus (Echinopsis) Species


Desert Plants

San Pedro cactus, also known as Trichocereus pachanoi (formerly known as echinopsis pachanoi), is a plant native to the Andes Mountains of South America. Its psychoactive properties have been used for centuries by indigenous people for medicinal and spiritual purposes in San Pedro ceremony. It is therefore a sacred cactus, with a long history.


The San Pedro cactus plant is a dark green, columnar cactus that can grow up to 20 feet tall in its natural habitat. Its stems can reach up to 8 inches in diameter, and it has large, white, fragrant flowers that bloom at night. The plant contains mescaline, a psychoactive alkaloid that produces hallucinations and other altered states of consciousness (it is illegal in the UK to extract or prepare the mescaline from the plant).


San Pedro cacti are relatively easy to grow and care for. They require well-draining soil, regular watering, and lots of sunlight. San Pedro cactus plants can be propagated through cuttings, which can be taken from the top or side of the stem. These cuttings can be rooted in soil and will eventually grow into new plants.

Trichocereus Pachanoi Cactus

When buying San Pedro cactus, it is important to choose a reputable seller. Look for sellers who offer healthy, well-established plants and cuttings. Be wary of sellers who offer San Pedro cacti at unusually low prices, as these may be lower quality or even fake.


San Pedro cactus is a fascinating plant with a rich history and many uses historically. It can be propagated through cloning (cutting), seed grown or grafted. Just be sure to choose a reputable seller and take proper care of your new plant to ensure its health and longevity.


The psychoactive compound found in San Pedro cactus, is a controlled substance in the United Kingdom. It is classified as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which makes it illegal to possess, produce, sell, or import mescaline without a license.

While the cactus itself is legal to own and grow in the UK, it is illegal to extract or prepare the mescaline from the plant.


The Trichocereus genus is a group of cacti native to South America, particularly the Andes region. There are many different species and hybrids within the genus, including several popular ornamental plants. Here are some of the most common Trichocereus varieties:


  1. Trichocereus pachanoi (Formerly Echinopsis pachanoi): Also known as San Pedro cactus, this is one of the most well-known and widely cultivated Trichocereus species. San Pedro cacti are one of the fastest growing columnar cacti, native to the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and Peru. Given the optimum environment, this cactus can grow up to 30cm per year! Night blooming, the mature San Pedro displays signature, giant white flowers from July and produces a fragrant bouquet whilst in bloom.

  2. Trichocereus bridgesii (formerly Echinopsis lageniformis): Also known as Bolivian Torch cactus, this species is known for its long, thin stems that can grow up to several meters tall and are covered in spines. The cactus also produces white, nocturnal flowers that bloom in the summer.

  3. Trichocereus terscheckii: Also known as Argentine Saguaro or Cardon Grande, this species is native to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. This cactus is characterized by its large, thick stems and relatively small flowers. It can grow up to 10 meters tall and has blue-green stems that are covered in spines. The cactus produces white or yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.

  4. Trichocereus peruvianus: Also known as Peruvian Torch cactus, this species is native to the Andean region of Peru and is similar in appearance to San Pedro cactus. It has long, ribbed stems that can grow up to several meters tall and are covered in spines. The cactus produces white, nocturnal flowers that bloom in the summer.

  5. Trichocereus scopulicola: The extraordinary 'Scopulicola' is an almost spineless cacti, native to Bolivia! First discovered by Friedrich Ritter in 1958 during an expedition. Faster growing and considerably thicker than San Pedro! Given the optimum environment this species can grow up to 4 meters! Night blooming, the mature Scopulicola displays signature, giant white flowers from July and produces a fragrant bouquet whilst in bloom.

  6. Trichocereus Cuzcoensis: The spectacular Trichocereus Cuzcoensis cacti is also known as 'Cuzco' and differentiated by its highly variable lengthed spines! The spines appear golden brown and typically differ between 5cm - 20cm in length! Be extrememely careful when handling this rogue!


These are just a few examples of the many different Trichocereus varieties that exist. There is some debate among taxonomists and cactus enthusiasts regarding the exact number of Trichocereus species, as well as which species belong in the genus. Currently, there are believed to be around 50 recognized Trichocereus species, although this number is subject to change as new research and taxonomic studies are conducted.

San Pedro Cactus

There are also numerous hybrid varieties of Trichocereus, which have been created through crossbreeding between different species. These hybrids may exhibit unique characteristics and are often highly valued by collectors and enthusiasts. Here are some examples:


  1. Trichocereus Volcano: The spectacular 'Trichocereus Bridgesii sp. Volcano' hybrid displays fierce reddish spines which erupt from its heavyset body. This certainly is an eye catching species, that will make an astounding addition to any collection!

  2. Trichocereus Griseus: The enchanting 'Trichocereus Pachanoi sp. Griseus' hybrid has a smokey grey skin tone and striking red thorns! Considerably thicker than the San Pedro cacti, this hybrid will be a very rare and prized additon to any cactus collection!


Overall, the Trichocereus genus is a diverse and fascinating group of cacti, with a wide range of sizes, shapes, and growth habits. Mother earth has so many varieties to offer, there is sure to be a Trichocereus species or hybrid that will catch your eye!


Desert Plants Ltd

Questions & Answers


What are Trichocereus species and where are they found?

Trichocereus is a genus of columnar cacti native to South America, particularly the Andean region. They are found in countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile.


What are some common Trichocereus species and how do they differ?

Some common Trichocereus species include Trichocereus Pachanoi, Trichocereus bridgesii, Trichocereus terscheckii, Trichocereus peruvianus and Trichocereus scopulicola. They differ in their physical characteristics, such as the shape and size of their stems, as well as their geographic distribution and psychoactive properties.


What are the psychoactive properties of Trichocereus species?

Trichocereus species are known for their psychoactive properties, which are attributed to the presence of various alkaloids such as mescaline. They have been used in traditional medicine and shamanic rituals for their hallucinogenic effects historically. This is illegal in some countries such as the United Kingdom.


Is it legal to own San Pedro?

While the cactus itself is legal to own and grow in the UK, it is illegal to extract or prepare the mescaline from the plant. This includes making San Pedro cactus tea or consuming the cactus in any form for its psychoactive effects.


Where can I buy San Pedro cactus?

San Pedro cactus seedlings and cuttings can be purchased from reputable sellers such as Desert Plants Ltd, who are based right here in the UK!


Where can I find San Pedro cactus sales?

If you're looking for San Pedro cactus sales, look no further. Our platform provides a fantastic opportunity. Not only do we offer a range of San Pedro cactus products, but we also sweeten the deal with exclusive perks. When you subscribe, you'll enjoy a generous 10% discount on your first purchase. Keep an eye out for our occasional sales, which provide even more value for your money. And that's not all – with every cutting you purchase, we include a FREE San Pedro seedling, giving you an extra incentive to explore and expand your cactus collection. Don't miss out on these great offers!

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