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Solanaceae, Iochroma fuchsioides – S. America

May 27, 2011

Iochroma fuchsiodes is a shrub or small tree growing 10-15 feet in height, sometimes larger. The genus occurs in the Colombian and Ecuadorean Andes at about 7,000 ft altitude. The branches are reddish brown and the leaves, obovate-oblong, measure 4-6 inches in length. The clustered tubular or bell-shaped flowers are red, 1-1.5 inches long. The red fruit is an ovoid or pyriform berry about 3/4 inches in diamter, partially enclosed in a persistent calyx, like a smaller version of B. sanguinea fruit (Schultes, Hoffman, Ratsch, 1992).

The root of Iochroma fuchsiodes is reputedly a powerful purgative prescribed by the payés in the Valley of Sibundoy in treating colic, stomach ache, difficulty of digestion of bowel function. The root is rasped and eaten raw with salt when internal injury is suspected following a blow; a tea of the leaves is administered in cases of difficult childbirth. Among the Kamsa Indians of the Colombian Andes, I. fuchsiodes is taken by shamans for difficult diagnoses.

When the plant is used as a hallucinogen, a tea of the root and leaves is drunk with no admixture. The usual dose is one to three cupfuls over a three-hour period. This psychoactive brew was employed for divination more frequently “in the old days”, but according to the medicine men, its use is on the want because of malaise which is causes. The intoxication is not pleasant, leaving aftereffects for several days. The shrub is valued also as a medicine for treating difficulties with digestion or bowel function, and to aid in cases of difficult childbirth. A sudorific tea of a bush of the high moors near Sibundoy (Hedyosmum translucidum) is taken to relieve this malaise (Schultes & Raffauf, 1992).

I took this photo of a plant I am cultivating in my yard in N. California. See photos and post on Iochroma cyaneum.

2 Comments leave one →
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  1. Solanaceae, Iochroma cyaneum «

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