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Rubiaceae, Psychotria poeppigiana, hot lips, labios de puta

August 21, 2008

Native to the forests of Panama, this photo was taken in Soberania national park. I am now growing the plant from stem cuttings. This species has been used as a hunting fetish, as a magical talisman to  facilitate hunting. The leaves and flowers would be placed in a bundle and tied to the collar of dogs when hunting taipir.

In Suriname the plant is crushed then boiled, the resulting liquid can be used as wash for headaches. This same preparation can be used as an external wash for sprains, rheumatism, muscular pains and contusions.

The Wayana indians of Suriname use bark raspings from the stem and rub it on a skin rash known as “poispoisi”. The red, sap-filled inflorescence are used for an antalgic to treat earache, administered by dropping the sap into the ear canal. The inflorescence is used to remedy whooping cough.

This species of psychotria has also been used as a P. viridis analogue in ayahuasca, containing significant amounts of DMT.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Adam permalink
    August 27, 2008 10:08:06 am

    do you offer cuttings or seeds of that variety I’ve been looking for that one for a while now ty

    • May 29, 2010 10:08:54 pm

      Where are you located. I’ve grown it from seed or cuttings. It’s native in the forests surrounding Panama City.

      • May permalink
        September 18, 2010 10:08:17 pm

        I have been looking for seeds for psychotria poeppigiana , unsuccesfully, can anyone help me.
        My mail is
        I live in denmark, and no one have even heard of the plant 🙂

        • September 18, 2010 10:08:55 pm

          The only place I’ve ever seen it growing is in the wild, in Panama. Never seen it in cultivation, aside from plants I’ve grown from cuttings. You planning on growing it in a greenhouse in Denmark?

  2. Ryan permalink
    August 21, 2010 10:08:37 am

    I am interested in seeds. my email is:

    Do the seeds take awhile to germinate similar to Psychotria ipecacuanha?

    Id assume 3 months.

  3. Nicole permalink
    January 10, 2011 10:08:25 am

    Have been looking for Psychotria poeppigiana seeds or cuttings for 5 yrs now. Do you have any for sale or trade? Would love to compleete my collection.

  4. Hector permalink
    January 27, 2011 10:08:06 pm

    In the country of Honduras you can find of this trees growing naturally in the rain forest of PANACAM. See

    How do you propagated? Can you show me how to do it step by step? Im located in San Pedro Sula, Honduras near the forest.

  5. Mark permalink
    February 27, 2011 10:08:24 pm

    P. poeppigiana — I got a plant at Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. Unsure if it should be planted in full sun or part shade?

    • February 27, 2011 10:08:06 pm

      In the wild I’ve seen it growing in the understory of secondary forest. It should tolerate partial to pretty dense shade.

  6. oscar permalink
    February 28, 2012 10:08:30 pm

    Why is there no one selling or trading this beautiful plant. Please email me to any leads of me getting this unique plant, cutting or even seeds. God Bless.

    • February 29, 2012 10:08:49 am

      I first encountered it in the National Park / canal watershed in Panama. Grows abundantly as an understory shrub. I’ve propagated it from seeds and cuttings, which is fairly easy. I’m not sure why it isn’t more widely available by commercial means. I never bought or sold it, just propagated it for personal interest as I am a fan of the Psychotria genus.


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