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Rubiaceae, Psychotria viridis, chacruna

March 7, 2008


This species of Psychotria is used by indigenous peoples of western Amazonia, primarily as an additive in the preparation of a hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca, also called yage, employed for healing and divination. Although ayahuasca can be prepared in the absence of Psychotria, the addition of the plant greatly enhances the visionary effect of the brew due to the significant amounts of DMT present in its leaves.

DMT, or N, N-dimethyltryptamine, is a tryptamine alkaloid

Other plants with significant quantities of DMT include: Mimosa tenuiflora (=M. hostilis), Anadenanthera peregrina, Acaciapolyacantha, A. cornigera, A. maidenii, A. nubica, A. plebophylla, A. polyantha, A. senegal, A. simplicifolia), Calliandra spp., Desmodium spp. Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae), Virola peruviana, V. elongata (=V. heiodora) Epenña, Yakeé (Myristicaceae); Banisteriopsos argentea, B. rusbyana (Malpighiaceae); Prestonia amazonica (Apocynaceae); Psychotria peoppigiana, adn P. psychotriaefolia (Rubiaceae); Arundo donax, Phalaris arundinacea, Phragmites austraiis (Poaceae) and Zanthoxylum spp (Rutaceae).

I just brought a few young chacruna plants to my nureries in Panama city. I didn’t previously have it here. The plants I just brough were propagated from seed. The plant is fairly easy to propagate from seeds, stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings (see photo of sprouting leaf cuttings). It’s interesting that the plant reproduces from leaf cuttings. I have looked for evidence of leaves dropping off the plant and self-propagating as such. I have noticed that some plants will produce seed heavily for a while, then the bulk of the shrub will slowly die off, sending up a single or a few new shoots in succession from the base of the trunk. I remember when I first saw chacruna was in the Pacaya-Samiria below Iquitos, Pereu. I recall the leaves were larger, wider.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2014 10:08:31 am

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing
    this one. A must read article!


  1. Rubiaceae, Psychotria punctata – de Hortus Botanic Garden, Amsterdam «

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