: a hallucinogenic drug containing mescaline that is derived from peyote buttons and used especially in the religious ceremonies of some American Indian peoples
: a small spineless cactus of the genus Lophophora (L. williamsii) of the southwestern United States and Mexico having rounded stems covered with jointed tubercules—called also mescal
Variants of PEYOTE
Illustration of PEYOTE
Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)—Dennis E. Anderson
Either of two species of the genus Lophophora in the cactus family, native to North America, almost exclusively to Mexico. The body of the peyote cactus is spineless, soft, usually blue-green, and only 3 in. (8 cm) wide and 2 in. (5 cm) tall. The more common species, mescal (L. williamsii), has pink to white flowers. L. diffusa, more primitive, has white to yellow flowers and a yellow-green body. Well known for its hallucinogenic effects (primarily due to the alkaloid mescaline), peyote figures prominently in old and recent religious rituals of certain American Indian peoples. The sale, use, or possession of dried mescal buttons (flowering heads) or live plants is prohibited by law in many places.