Psychoactive Cactus Culture with Dr. Liam Engel

Learn about the culture and botany of psychoactive plants and walk through the Succulent Garden to see them for yourself.

Dr. Liam Engel delivering a talk on Cactus

Maiden Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney


11 August 2024


2pm - 4pm


$50 per person

$40 Foundation & Friends members


2 hours

From gardeners to chemists, First Peoples to psychologists, meditators to psychonauts; the world of psychoactive plants is huge, and the knowledge required to understand magic plants comes from many different places.

Most people are familiar with tobacco and tea leaves, but not so many people know about the mushroom Psilocybe cubensis, let alone Mitragyna speciosa, a curious relative of coffee. 

In this presentation, Dr Liam Engel will explain the colourful rainbow of psychoactive plants that influence the mind - how they’re made, how they’re used, how they interact with the body and their related effects, culture and botany.

The presentation will be followed by a short, guided walk through the Succulent Garden, highlighting some of Dr Engel’s favourite, psychedelic, mescaline-containing cacti.

We'll then head back to the Foundation & Friends Terrace for drinks and nibbles.

About Dr. Liam Engel

Dr. Liam Engel is a science communicator, ethnobotanist and cactus expert.

He is founder of The Mescaline Garden educational nursery, natural products chemist at NICM Health Research Institute and author of Thames and Hudson’s forthcoming “Psychoactive Plants & Fungi.”

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