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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Psychotria viridis – Chacruna ‘Pucallpa’ (plant)

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A member of the Rubiaceae family from South America, traditionally used in the healing Ayahuasca brew. The word Chacruna derives from the Quechua word chaqruy which means ‘to mix’. It is added to Ayahuasca brews to increase the light and changes the style, visions are often in richer colours, different than when only Banisteriopsis caapi is used alone.

Psychotria viridis contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychoactive substance found across the plant kingdom in many family, genera and thousands of species (large numbers of Australian Acacia spp. contain DMT), often only as trace amounts. In Psychotria viridis it is found in the leaves at concentrations varying from 0.1 – 0.61% with traces of other tryptamines (Ratsch 1998).

I grew this type a few years ago from seed imported from Pucallpa, Peru. Wider leaves than the Shipibo variety and more compact.

Care and Cultivation of Psychotria viridis ‘Pucallpa’

Psychotria viridis is a relatively medium to fast growing plant if kept in a warm position. Prefers a shady, moist, well-drained site and a rich loam soil with adequate fertiliser. Psychotria viridis is not particularly cold tolerant, depending on micro-climate, preferring tropical and subtropical regions. It can survive further south if protected over the colder months (ie. bring inside or keep close to the house). It is not drought tolerant and if you live in a dry climate, you’re best to keep the plant in a pot or in the most well watered part of your garden.

For more in depth information, please check out our Psychotria growing guide here.

1 plant


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