Brunfelsia chiricaspi is a few-branched, evergreen shrub or a small tree with a crown of lax, spreading branches; it generally grows 1 - 3 metres tall. The short bole is around 5cm in diameter[
The plant is a favoured hallucinogenic plant for several native tribes in the Amazon, and is often harvested from the wild for this purpose[
Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant[
S. America - Ecuador, Colombia.
An understorey shrub in humid, primary forests at elevations of 325 - 500 metres, occasionally persisting after cutting of the forest[
Grows best in a position with partial shade - when growing in full sun the foliage may scorch and drop[
]. Prefers a loamy, fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil[
]. Many species in this genus grow wild in alkaline soils and, in non-alkaline soils, all members of the genus can benefit from the addition of some ground limestone[
The specific name of this plant is taken from one of its vernacular names: chiricaspi, meaning 'cold tree' in Quechua. This word refers to the physiological effect of chills or tingling produced upon ingestion of the bark. This plant, as well as other species of Brunfelsia, is used by various tribes of southern Colombia as an admixture to the hallucinogenic Banisteriopsis. It is reputedly the strongest of the intoxicating Brunfelsias and is preferred over the commonly cultivated Brunfelsia grandiflora schultesii[
Seed - it has a short period of viability and does not tolerate dessication. Sown fresh, it germinates within 2 - 4 weeks[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.