Psychotria viridis ‘Ecuador’ | ‘Chacruna’ | 10 seeds
Psychotria viridis is a perennial shrub of the Rubiaceae family, colloquially known by the Quechua name ‘Chacruna’ (from “chaqruy”; “to mix”). As noted elsewhere on this site, the Ecuadorians confusingly call the unrelated species Diplopterys cabrerana by the same name.
The mature plant grows to around five metres tall in the wild and spans a diameter of roughly two metres, producing five to fifteen-centimetre elliptical green leaves in pairs along its stems, which turn grey to red-brown when dried.
For the amateur horticulturalist, cultivation from cuttings is most practical (propagation from seed can prove quite challenging due to low germination rates), with a partial or single viridis leaf sufficient to start off a new clone. For the more technically-minded, it’s also well-suited to a hydroponic setup.
Traditional users of Chacruna include the Machiguenga of Peru (who use the juice from viridis leaves to as eye drops for treating migraine) and the many indigenous tribes, syncretic churches and “Vegetalistas” (traditional healers) following the Ayahuasca practice.
Closely related to (and fairly easily confused with) the Ecuadorian species Psychotria carthagenensis (‘Amiruca’, ‘Samiruka’), it’s possible to identify true viridis by its leaf edges, which extend all the way down to the base of the leaf stem. Amazingly, Amazon healers are so used to working with the plant that they’re able to recognise several different sub-varieties, apparently based on the gland placement on the backs of the leaves. Needless to say, we guarantee (as with all our products) that the viridis we’re selling here has been accurately identified!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced in 2018-2019