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Lophophora williamsii

Common names: Peyote, Sacred Cactus, Buttons, Mescalito

Classifying organisms can be an extensive and complicated process. However, it is very important to classify organisms for many reasons. Classification groups new organisms with already identified ones. It also provides means of communication and comparison between organisms.  Below I provided explanations, to give you a better understanding as to why Peyote fits into each particular classification.

Domain:Eukarya- The latin word “Eukaryote” translates to “true nucleus.” This is the distinguishing factor that separates them from prokaryotes. All members of the domain Eukarya contain membrane bound organelles such as chloroplasts and mitochondria.

Kingdom:Plantae- What distinguishes members of the kingdom Plantae from all other kingdoms? The answer is easy. The cells in this kingdom have cell walls made up of cellulose which aid in supporting the plant. This differs from members of fungi for example, which have cell walls made of chitin, or even animals which do not have cell walls at all. Another feature that separates members of the kingdom Plantae is the presence of chloroplasts and the process of photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis equasion

Phylum:Magnoliophyta- Organisms in this phylum include plants with a vascular system and specialized transport systems. These organisms have roots, stems, and leaves. They are considered to be angiosperms, otherwise known as flowering plants. Some other organisms that fit this phylum are calla lilies, sweet orange, and the Oregon Grape.

Class:Magnoliopsida- This class consists of around 170,000 species of angiosperms including Peyote. An angiosperm can be defined as a seed producing plant , where seeds are enclosed in protective ovaries. Organisms in this class are commonly referred to as dicotyledons- (dicots) although dicots are not a recognized phylogenetic group. Other members of this class include Brunfalsea grandiflora and Echinacea purpurea

Order:Caryophyllales Organisms in this particular order are flowering plants considered to be core eudicots. Compared to species in other orders, Caryophyllales are structurally or physiologically adapted to more to extreme environments. Examples of these habitats include deserts, high-alkaline soils, high-saline substrates, and nutrient-poor soils.  

Family:Cactaceae- Members of the Cactaceae family have adapted to survive in hot and dry climate zones. These adaptations include an evolved stem and leaves. The stem has evolved to be able to photosynthesize while the leaves have evolved into spines. In addition members of the Cactaceae family are considered to be succulent plants.

Genus:Lophophora- The name 'Lophophora' comes from the Greek translation meaning 'crest bearer’. This crest is referring to the tufts of hair that can be seen on the the tubercles of some members of this particular genus. There are only two official species belonging to this genus.

Species:Lophophora williamsii: Lophophora williamsii is a small grey/green spineless cactus which produces pink flowers. Members of this species contain a large spectrum of phenethylamine alkaloids, including mescaline classifying it as a hallucinogen.

To get a bigger picture Lophophora williamsii  fits in relation to other plants view this phylogenetic tree.
When looking at this tree, based on morphological features, remember that peyote fits into the Caryophyllales order.  

Now that you know how to classify peyote, you may want to learn about it's habitat. Otherwise you may go back to the homepage and investigate on your own.



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