Psychotria spp.



Chacruna; Tupamaqui; Yage; Amyruca.

View More Information
Psychotria spp.

Botanical information

Psychotria viridis: An evergreen tree, it grows to a height of 5m with a spread of 2m, but is usually kept smaller in cultivation. The stem is erect and branching, the leaves are oval, acuminate and up to 24cm long; the flowers are pale green to white on long stalks; the fruit are red berries containing 1 or 2 small brown seed which are convex and grooved on one side, flat on the other.

A native of the Amazonian lowlands, but cultivated in Columbia, Bolivia and into Central America, it prefers well composted rich soils in a protected part shade or shady position, and is drought and frost tender.

Propagation is by seed or cuttings. Seed germination is very slow and unreliable, usually requiring at least 8 weeks, but sometimes over 6 months. Propagation by stem or leaf cuttings is far more efficient.


Psychotria carthaginensis: An evergreen tree, it grows to a height of 5m with a spread of 2m, but is usually kept smaller in cultivation. The stem is erect and branching, the leaves are oval, acuminate and up to 20cm long; the flowers are pale green to white on long stalks; the fruit are red berries containing 1 or 2 small brown seed which are convex and grooved on one side, flat on the other.

A native of Columbia and Ecuador, it prefers well composted rich soils in a protected sunny to part shade position, and is frost tender. It is also drought tender, but much hardier than other Psychotria species. It tolerates dry air and the waxy leaves protect it from drying out if the soil dried up for a little while.

Propagation is by seed or cuttings. Seed germination is very slow and unreliable, usually requiring at least 8 weeks, but sometimes over 6 months. Can also be propagated by stem cuttings, although leaf cuttings are not very successful.


Traditional uses

Psychotria viridis: While most of the documentation available on Psychotria viridis is in relation to its use as a component of Ayahuasca brews, it is also a well regarded medicinal plant in its native area, one of its uses being as eyedrops for migraines. The traditional name Chacruna also applies to Psychotria catharginensis which is frequently used in place of Psychotria viridis.


Psychotria catharginensis: The leaves of this species are frequently used in place of Psychotria viridis as a component of ayahuasca brews.



Back To Top