Living Rocks of Mexico


The Cactaceae, as may be expected, often play a role in the lives of the people of their native lands, and the purposes to which the plants are put are as varied as the plants themselves, and range from building, hedging, dietary supplements, and religious sacraments.

All Ariocarpus  species are known in Mexico by the vernacular name Chaute, (Glue), a reference to the sticky muciligenous sap found in the stems the plants, this mucilage has been employed as a glue by the Indian tribes of Mexico.Ariocarpus fissuratus plays a role in the lives of several Indian tribes, common names for the species include Peyote Cimarron and Sunami, the plant has been ascribed magical properties. The Tarahumara Indians believed Sunami to be more powerful than Waname (Lophophora williamsii), and used it in a similar manner, it was also used to in the brewing of an extremely intoxicating drink. The Tarahumara also believed A. fissuratus to possess the power to protect against robbers, having an army of soldiers at its command (Lumholtz 1902). Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus is used as a  painkiller especially for blows and bruises, plants are collected and pickled in alcohol. The plant is known by the  vernacular names Pezuna de venado, and  Pato


Ariocarpus fissuratus Ariocarpus fissuratus, Sunami, a pale flowered form of this species.

Ariocarpus retusus

Ariocarpus retusus, tsuwiri, the false peyote of the Huichol Indian belief.


de Venado. Ariocarpus retusus in common with  A. fissuratus was believed  to havemagical properties by the Huichol, to the Indians it was known as Tsuwiri (false peyote), and was believed to be evil, those that were not pure, had committed incest, or had received inadequate training by the tribal shaman would be led to consume the plant instead of the true peyote Lophophora williamsii. The consequences of consuming tsuwiri were believed to include madness and even death unless a cure was administered by the shaman. Ariocarpus agavoides, is known in the Tula area as Magueyitio, and is occasionally consumed as a Dulce (Sweet)  by the local population, the mucilage in the roots having a sweet taste. Ariocarpus bravoanus and A. scaphirostris have also been reported to be used medicinally.

Lumholtz, Carl, 1902. Unknown Mexico. II, New York: C. Scribners & Sons.

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