The San Pedro cactus is native to the Andes Mountains of South America and is one of the fastest-growing columnar cacti. It grows wild in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador, but is also cultivated elsewhere. It has a long, slender stem and is easily propagated by seed.
Journeying with Huachuma, the Sacred Andean Cactus
The earliest evidence of San Pedro use has been found in Peru, in a cave called the Guitarrero in the Callejon de Huaylas valley. Here, researchers have found fossilized san pedro cactus from different eras and have been able to date samples back to 6800 BCE. This makes it one of the oldest ancestral psychoactive plants.
The San Pedro cactus is considered by many indigenous cultures to be a powerful spiritual healer. It is thought to contain mescaline, a chemical that has been found to relieve mental disorders. The cactus is edible if prepared properly, but must first be stripped of its hard waxy skin and spikes. After that, the fleshy sections must be cut into smaller pieces.
The San Pedro cactus is native to the Andes and grows naturally in dry landscapes at 1,000-3,000 meters above sea level. The plant is popular as an ornamental plant throughout the world. Its flowers bloom only for a few days and are pollinated by night-time insects. Once pollinated, the San Pedro cactus produces a red fruit.