Echinopsis lageniformis

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Echinopsis lageniformis
Echinopsis lageniformis flowering 06 (cropped).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Genus: Echinopsis
E. lageniformis
Binomial name
Echinopsis lageniformis
(Förster) H.Friedrich & Glaetzle

Trichocereus bridgesii Britton & Rose

Echinopsis lageniformis (syn. Trichocereus bridgesii), the Bolivian torch cactus, is a fast-growing columnar cactus from the high deserts of Bolivia. Among the indigenous populations of Bolivia, it is sometimes called achuma or wachuma, although these names are also applied to related species such as Echinopsis pachanoi which are also used for their psychedelic effects.[1]


The plant has a greenish to bluish color and usually has four to eight ribs. It can grow 2–5 m tall with stems of up to 15–20 cm in diameter. Spines can range in coloration from honey-coloured to brown, and are located on the nodes in groups of up to four. These spines can grow up to 6–7 cm in length and in fully grown plants are spaced evenly on the ribs, 2.5 to 3 cm apart.[2]


Several varieties of this species are highly prized by ornamental cactus collectors. These include a cristate variety, two variants of monstrose growth, and a more recently developed clone that exhibits both monstrose and cristate growth.[3] These all tend to be much slower growing than the standard form of the species, but owing to their highly unusual shapes, they are sought after by cactus collectors.

The monstrose form of Echinopsis lageniformis is known as the penis plant or penis cactus. Contrary to the typical columnar habit of the species, this cultivar displays short stem sections that branch avidly, forming a low spiny bush. The upper part of each stem segment is smooth and spineless, resembling a penis. The lower part is spiny and shows a tendency to form ribs. The plant is light green. The German name for this cultivar, frauenglück, more euphemistic than its English equivalent, translates as "women's joy".


The plant contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids, in particular the well-studied chemical mescaline typically at levels lower than Echinopsis pachanoi: it was reported 0.56% dry weight mescaline content for E. lageniformis, while up to 5% for E. pachanoi. The concentrations for specimens from various locations vary considerably and E. lageniformis may sometimes contain higher mescaline content than E. pachanoi although that 0.56% concentration was the highest reported in any research.[4] Chemical analysis of some variants of this species have shown it may include some of the most potent of the psychedelic Trichocereus species,[1] although this is not conclusive nor does it apply to all strains of the species. Outside of its native habitat, it is one of the least known and used of the Trichocereus cacti for either its psychoactive or ornamental uses. This is not true in areas where it is the dominant species, for example, the La Paz area of Bolivia.

As with related species, it seems to have long shamanic tradition of use throughout its native habitat.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Madsen, Jens. "5. Echinopsis Zucc". Flora of Ecuador. Gunnar Harling & Lennart Andersson (35): 27–30.
  2. ^ Herrero-Ducloux, Enrique. "Datos quimicos sobre el Echinopsis eyriesii". Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Quimicas Universidad Nacional de la Plata (in Spanish). 2 (6): 43–49.
  3. ^ Rowley, Gordon (1978). Reunion of the Genus Echinopsis. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Succulents. New York: Crown Publishing. ISBN 978-0-517-53309-3.
  4. ^ Ogunbodede, Olabode; McCombs, Douglas; Trout, Keeper; Daley, Paul; Terry, Martin (2010-09-15). "New mescaline concentrations from 14 taxa/cultivars of Echinopsis spp. (Cactaceae) ("San Pedro") and their relevance to shamanic practice". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 131 (2): 356–362. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.07.021. PMID 20637277.
  5. ^ "Cactacae - Sacred Succulents". Sacred Succulents. Retrieved 2014-11-11.

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