GEORGE POST / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE POST / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). This plant grows in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It lacks spines and has a long root. The flesh of this cactus contains the hallucinogenic drug mescaline, which is structurally similar to dopamine and noradrenaline. The cacti are harvested by cutting off the tops and sun-drying them to produce 'mescal buttons'. The peyote cactus has been used ceremonially by native Americans as a spritiual medicine for nearly 3,000 years.
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