seeds of Adenanthera peregrina, Yopo
Adenanthera peregrina, also called yopo, is a tree species of the family Fabaceae. The tree’s synonyms include Acacia angustiloba, Acacia microphylla, and Mimosa acaioides. Common names for the plant include jopo, calcium tree, parica and cohoba. The plant is native to the South American region and the Caribbean. Adenanthera peregrina can grow to a height of 20m. The bark is rough and prickly while the leaves are long and pinnate. Flowers are spherical and are either white or pale yellow. Flowers bear flat pods which have constrictions in between the seeds. The pods attain a black or grey colour to signal they are ripe after which they snap open to release the seeds. The plant has a symbiotic relationship with ants. The stems secrete nectar which attracts ants which in turn get rid of the plant’s pests. Adenanthera peregrina is a reliable source of wood for use in making furniture, cages and fence posts. The suitability of the wood lies in its hardness. Adenanthera peregrina is also a rich source of tannins. In addition to being toxic to cattle, the tree’s beans also have hallucinogenic properties. This attribute made the beans an important part of the culture of South American indigenous tribes of centuries. The local tribes made use of the plant’s hallucinogenic effects during celebrations or for spiritual purposes. Another traditional use of the beans involves using them to make a remedy for stomach upsets. Adenanthera peregrina grows best in moist, well-drained soils with sufficient fertility. Frost is harmful to the plant, and one should strive to minimize contact. Waterlogged soils harm the plant’s roots. One should, therefore, improve the soil drainage and desist from overwatering the plant. Adenanthera peregrina grows best in tropical climates. People who live in temperate climates and wish to cultivate the plant can only achieve good results using a greenhouse.
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