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Cacti are distinctive and unusual plants, which are adapted to extremely arid and hot environments, showing a wide range of anatomical and physiological features which conserve water. Their stems have expanded into green succulent structures containing the chlorophyll necessary for life and growth, while the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are so well known.

Peyote and the American Indian: When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they found, among other sacred plants, a small, narcotic cactus that was worshipped by the natives. In spite of four centuries of civil and religious opposition, the worship of this "divine" plant-peyote-has not died out in Mexico.