This is Criollo cacao, a less commonly grown tree that produces somewhat smaller pods, but makes a richer / stronger flavored chocolate. Criollo and Forestero beans are often mixed to make a blended chocolate.
Yes, a crude form of chocolate is made by sending beans through a poppy seed grinder, then gently heating the resulting ground paste with agave syrup or honey, and stirring it till it's smooth, and adding vanilla extract. Place the chocolate in a mould and cool, and cut into servings.
Flavorings such as orange peel, coffee, mint, cardamom, etc., can be added during the grinding process by mixing them with the beans in the poppy seed grinder.
Thank you for posting, very interesting. I have a small seedling I hope oneday (emphasis on oneday) to plant in the ground. Tasted fresh cocoa beans on a trip to Mexico, I can just imagine those made into a hot chocolate like you posted. YUMMY. Do just add the gound beans with a sweetener like honey to make the drink?
The drink is simply made by grinding up the dried raw or roasted beans and dropping it in cool water, then slowly bringing it to a boil (medium heat) in a pan, turn off the heat, capping it for at least 5 minutes, then strained into a cup.
I put milk in it; sweetener can be added; a few drops of vanilla extract is good too!
Mocha (cacao & coffee mix) is a good way to start the day!
Cacao does exhibit cauliflory, but its flowers are fertilized by midges and other tiny flies. It is good to toss banana peels, citrus, and other rotting fruit (compost bucket) under the cacao trees when they are flowering to attract little flying insects.
The flowers are about 1 cm (1/2 in.) across; so far I can't get a clear photo of them.
Cocoa made from roasted cocoa beans is a daily drink in Samoa. (I lived there for several years) They roast the beans over a fire on a metal drum lid and then pound them in a wooden bowl with a smooth big rock. Then put the cocoa paste into a kettle with water and bring it to the boil and then add lots of sugar. Strong enough to make your hair curl! I always loved seeing the colors of the cacao pods...like the colors of fire. One day I was at our local city dump here in Hawaii and I saw a rooster eating something. When I looked to see what it was it was a cacao pod with the seeds sprouting. I jumped into the trash and got the pod and was able to grow a few dozen trees for local Samoan gardeners to have. My own garden is too near the ocean for me to want to bother with it in my own garden...too sensitive to salt winds.
OOOOoooooo. There are more ways than by the truffle? The DOVE?...do go on...
Maybe I could get excited about them...working really hard just to make me really fat seems futile (why work hard?) but if it were diverse and worth tasting rather than swilling... It would be fascinating. Really!!!
AH - Dave...question: After Bob read your thread, he told me there were two Cacao out by his greenhouse. Anything growing there is toast because the Ficus Banyan's roots are all in there...heck, the 'dirt' is getting like particle board! So, these two miserable trees are in pots growing into the ground(?). The trunk is about 4' high with little leaves/branches at the very top. Bob wants to make it shorter cutting the trunk completely off (like 'stumping' coffee trees). Would you fertilize like heck and 'stump' before transplanting and move it only when new growth appeared OR would you transplant it, wait until it is settled in and producing new growth and then whack it? #2 is my vote - #1 is Bob's. Now...you can avoid us having a messey divorce if you can tell us what to do. Mahalo
Here in Costa Rica Theobroma cacao plantations got a disease= caused by a fungus Monilia, the fruit turns black like rotten. My cousin from the caribean side of this country had plantations of this delicious cacao, I understood that the growers learned how to pollinated the flowers.
Once at my house, my grandmother obtained a big ball of cacao from dry seeds.
Hi Carol, you are certainly welcome to check out my place, hope you won't be in shock from the simple way that I live.
Within a few weeks I will have put together a demonstration on how to make chocolate, in a crude yet tasty form! That would be a great time to stop by; I'll let you know when everything is ready.
Not anything close to a chocolate factory; all is done with old fashioned mills and grinders, and simple kitchen equipment. Stuff that anyone could reproduce in their own home!
Producing cacao in this area could provide an agricultural industry that few have taken advantage of yet.
The field that Hershey Co. helped to put together in Kea'au, produced cacao beans that had twice the average butter-fat of beans produced elsewhere in the world. It is a shame that they abandoned the project, just because the fields that they sponsored in Ka'anapali, Maui failed miserably!
Oh, my hawai'ian friends... My heart is heavy this morning. Life has a way of throwing curves at you. Reading about you guys growing cacao makes it even worse. I truly left a part of myself in the islands when I visited Hawai'i. How I wish I were among you in Paradise.
Mahalo nui loa for this extremely interesting thread, specially for someone who has yet to encounter a form of chocolate he doesn't like. My favorite: very dark chocolate with hot pepper inclusions in it: not for the keikis but oh so truly addictive once you get used to the idea.
I am not good company this morning. It will pass. Tomorrow will be better.
Lol Sylvain - I am with you - food of the Gods, and I don't really have much of a sweet tooth!
Dave, tell us about the plantation at Ka'anapali and why it failed...you could even find a field to plant in up there now with all the new building going on. You wouldn't recognise the whole area, there is hardly an inch of land left, they are even building up the hills mauka from Lahaina..
I don't know exactly where the cacao in Ka'anapali was planted, but that it was mauka of the tourist area.
It is my understanding that Hershey Co. and Amway, and some local investors started several fields of cacao to see what type of product they could produce in Hawai'i. Ka'anapali is where they made the biggest effort, but the climate there was not favorable for good production. Even though the Kea'au planting was very successful, they gave up on the whole project.
The Kea'au planting is right beside the "Banyan Inn", just outside of Old Kea'au Town by the new schools.
There is 10 acres planted there, with several varieties of cacao. My Forestero trees originated from there.
Several years ago, Bob Cooper began leasing the field in Kea'au for his business, which is (I think) "The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory".
From what I can gather, the cacao tree loves cool wet weather. I have tasted chocolate made from beans grown in lower Puna, and it is not as rich as the same from my trees. The hot cocoa drink made from my beans seems to consistently have more fat in it than the lower Puna beans.
The main difference is that lower Puna is hot and dry, while up here it is cooler and wetter. Down country the trees need to be shaded; up here they can be grown in full sun.
varities of cacao here in Costa Rica have been grown in the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica or our south pacific. Low altittude, very humid. It rains almost the whole year. (tropical rain forest). Rainy and high humidity (80% or more). As I explained before this kind of environmment improved the problem with Monilia (fungus). Nowadays I guess there are varieties tolerant to this disease.
Mauka...Mauka... my hawai'ian is extremely weak at best. The Hawai'ian dictionnary tells me it may mean "inland". When I re-read the sentence, it makes sense. I have learned something new today. Thank you for the enlightenment. Now, if it doesn't mean inland, someone PLEASE correct me.
Very interesting site, Metrosideros. Isn't chocolate unbelievably interesting in all its aspects?
Oh, what a delicious addiction. I could just see myself in a Chocolate Anonymous meeting standing before everyone and proclaiming:
"Hi, my name is Sylvain and I am hopelessly addicted to chocolate. As a matter of fact, Here... I brought some samples for everyone".
They would kick my sorry behind out of that meeting before I had finished opening the samples of homemade chocolate truffles, almond bark, mayonnaise chocolate cake and fudge I have brought just for that occasion.
I am trying to learn a few words of hawai'ian here and there because some day, I shall return to the islands. It's a promise I make to myself, not a threat to the islands.
Dave, a very interesting site on the growing and making the chocolate, thank you. I had no idea that most of our chocolate beans are grown in Western Africa or what a labor intensive ordeal it must be to be a farmer. Interesting that the pods ripen year round instead of one or two large crops a year. Very enjoyable, and educational.
Pouring with rain here on Maui this morning - I hope it's going to clear up for Wednesday when Carol comes down the mountain from Kula! I am so looking forward to seeing her, and hope we can get that snorkle trip in. We will be careful of Carols' feet Christi!
BHM, Carol, have a great time together. I will be with you in spirit.
In sub-tropical Delray Beach this morning, It is currently 75 degrees with a delightful softbreeze. I live in the mauka part of Delray.
Spring fever has hit this polar bear. As the eskimos say in such dire times: we'll live longer if we take cover and wait.
Yesterday, I have restocked my little above-ground pond with 24 golfish, the filter has been cleaned and everyone seems happy in there.
Also, I have decided that this is the time to put this collection of potted plants hanging around my carport in the ground or the rubbish. Just so I am not off-topic, I have purchased a rosemary plant yesterday. It should go into the ground with the rest today.
Doesn't sound like anyone would be thrilled with knowing about Hawaii weather? 250 miles to the north (rough guess) it is socked in with clouds, about 60 degs with a cold wind driving the pouring rain at a 90deg. angle...here in Hilo it was beautiful in the lower 70s with a nice breeze. It's called weather in the middle of the ocean around three of the tallest mountains in the world which can stop and deflect weather. Always exciting, never boring.
Hi Dave, Reading your expose on Cacao was very interesting. As I live in Mesoamerica within a stones throw of the great Maya cities of Tikal and El Mirador I should know all about Cacao. I am totally ignorant and have never seen a tree here, only in the West Indies.
The locals and my Maya gardener know nothing about Cacao. In theory I should be able to throw some seeds into my garden and in about 3 years start producing pods.
I discovered that, as in Hawaii, Hershey made expeditions here but the projects came to nothing. Why don't we grow Cocao here? The reason is economic. Although Chocolate is very expensive the price that a farmer receives for the finished bean is very low and a profit is not possible. It is more profitable to grow Corn and Beans.
We have a similar situation with Coffee. Many of the large private Coffee Fincas have gone out of business. Local co-operatives now produce coffee but only receive a few dollars for 100 lb bags of dried beans (about 10c a pound). The members still live in hovels and are barely existing.
I was in Roatan (Honduras) 3 weeks ago and I was delighted to find some "equitable" ground coffee from a cooperative of small growers in the mountains. I bought about 10 lbs of the stuff and it is delicious: tasty, full-bodied almost robust without being acrid.
Hey John, in Hawai'i a farmer could never do well by growing and selling cacao beans.
The only sensible way to make their production worthwhile is for the farmer to grow the beans and make the finished product as well.
The cost of making a high quality chocolate is too expensive for any common person. The machinery alone is not within most people's budgets. The time is consuming too; who has the time to conch (heat and stir) their chocolate for two to seven days?
I like the idea of a cooperative (thanks Sylvain!) and have been encouraging my family and friends to plant cacao, as well as Vanilla to flavor the stuff with.
Now I need to figure out how to make sweetener out of Agave!
OK! What we have here is a definite case of Hawai'i envy.
I love your agave garden. Let's get our heads together and make tequilla cooperative. The world has enough sweeteners as it is and one can always use a bit more tequilla.
As far as the vanilla beans are concerned, it only reinforces my Hawai'i envy. I have 3 vanilla orchid plants at home but they don't even produce as much as a new leaf a year. They just want to go back to Madgascar or Hawai'i.
A fru-fru food store was closing when I lived in Canada. I took advantage of a liquidation sale and acquired a dozen vanilla beans, which I steeped in a 26-oz bottle of 94%alcohol for a couple months. Quebec is the only province in Canada where alcohol is legally sold. It produced glorious vanilla. Those were the days, my friend.
Hey, Sylvain. I'm with you. Maybe Carol would sell a couple of acres of her plantation and we could each have one and grow all kinds of beautiful things. Mitch left a blue agave with me when he moved to Oklahoma. I think that is the one that "Patron" uses.
Dave, between you, Carol and RJ there is little in the plant world that you don't cover. I am always amazed and thrilled when you offer education. I'm still at the point where : I have a blue flower, a red flower, a white flower...a...ad infinitum...
Absolutely fascinating thread! Thanks Dave! Carol, you should post some of your spice trees...then the title of the thread and the contents would make us all want to experiment! Hmmm let's see...mocha/cinnamon for breakfast...add a touch more vanilla for lunch, hmmm allspice for dinner...
The economics of the production of both chocolate and coffee in all these varied places is also fascinating. Alas the need for the "marketable" product has caused many more interesting items to be pushed to the wayside all too often. I love the idea of the co-op Dave. Good luck with that!
Christi you give me waaay too much credit! My environment is much too harsh for most herbs and spices...too much salt in lots of hot wind. But I can dream along with others when reading these marvelous posts. How you doing Sweetie?
Yes, Québec is the only province in Canada where you can purchase pure alcohol. Spirits like gin, vodka, rhum, cognac, etc. are available throughout Canada but if you are looking for pure unadulterated alcohol, Québec is the only place where you'll find it.
Co-operatives are now, more or less, the only way to go for the workers to survive.. All the common vegetables up to more exotic products are now produced by co-ops. Many of ours are started with outside help(seed money).
The various cacaos and coffees (arabica and robusta) all trade internationally at similar prices, on average about $1.30 a pound. The farmer gets a lot more coffee for his investment than he would with cacao and the drying process is simpler, but at 10 cents a pound he is not going to get rich quick.
A cottage industry making chocolate sounds a wonderful idea. A large part of our population relies on micro businesses to put food in the pot.
I worked for Nestle, most of my life in different locations and have seen the chocolate conches at work. A long slow process without any chance of modernisation. Not at all like Willy Wonka's place. Some of the overhead belt driven machinery I saw was probably made during the reign of Queen Victoria.
All over Australian agriculture "Value Adding" is the big thing. From wool sweaters that are produced on the farm, tropical wineries that use fruit seconds and do tastings for tourists to our Biodynamic milk/cheese/yogurt producers that have gotten huge.
When possible, we try to support the farmer and anyone else that is growing/making the product themselves. If we knew where to start we would purchase Kona coffee. Can anyone give us a clue. Now I am speaking of a coop or such...not a major company.
Hey Carol, I haven't looked much into selling cacao yet as I am just now starting to get consistent production.
I use most of what I get, and am trying to figure out a good recipe and process for making homemade chocolate.
I like the idea of using fruit to sweeten the chocolate with; it would be good if I could come up with a chocolate treat that is not bad for diabetics.
Oh, I do so love this thread. Thanks to all its contributors. Malama you all!
We found Kona coffee on Oahu when we went to the Costco in Honolulu. You entered the warehouse and this aroma of roasting coffee just assailed your nostrils. There was a guy in there who roasted Kona coffee right in the warehouse, cooled it down, packaged it and sold it just as fast as he could. We bought about 15 bags of coffee. Compared to the $25.00/lb they charge here for Kona coffee, it was worth buying an extra suitcase to bring it back home. Luckily, our luggage came from Costco so the new one matched the set.
Metrosideros, there is such a thing as diabetic chocolate. That's the ones that dietitians (food terrorists with a diploma) do not tell you about: the ones that contain 85% cocoa or more all have so little sugar as to be almost diabetic friendly. It's a manageable risk when used in moderation. The trick is in reading the nutrition facts pannel closely.
Gail and I also try to encourage the producer whenever we can. When we lived in Canada, the government of the province of Québec announced its misguided intention to stop the importation of unpasteurized cheese. What were they thinking about? The finest european cheeses are not pasteurized or made from pasteurized milk. Petitions circulated, people got quite huffy about the whole thing.
Upon scrutinizing the proposed law closely, many people realized it didn't mention locally-produced unpasteurized cheeses. A plethora of high-end locally-produced cheeses started appearing on the market to everyone's great delight. Realizing their foolishness, the government backed away from its plans. Quebecers now have quite an array of fine cheeses to choose from.
Can you recommend the cheeses and where to purchase? I could live on cheese alone. Come from a line of dairy farmers, both cow and goat, and they could some of the best cheeses ever. When I was child my mother belonged to "Cheese of the month Club" and taught me there was more than Velveta (cheese?) and cheddar. Here I go again, OT. Sorry.
Those cheeses are only marketed in Québec. They come from cottage industries, micro-producers or just a bit larger than that. Tdon't seem to feel the need to go outside the country to market their products.
I imagine they couldn't keep up with the demand if they were to market in other countries, such as the US; not that we couldn't use a wider selection of fine imported cheeses, you understand.
My favorite cheeses to buy here come from Costco, who is slowly expanding its fine cheese selection and taming the public into:
a) trying them; and
b) purchasing them (if they don't faint).
Always in stock in our refrigerator: Parmegiano Reggiano, Swiss, Dubliner, a chunk of aged cheddar, some american slices and some kind of blue cheese. Beyond that is a case of seasonal availability at Costco's. We enjoyed a great Stilton around Christmas. It varies, kind of like the Cheese Of The Month club.
OH...this area is a wasteland for good cheeses...unless you have recently robbed a bank!! Costco is a 2 or 3 hour drive which I do maybe once a year... sigh... Going to the Pacific NW on Wednesday and hope to gorge on some good Cambozola, some good cheddar (Loires...do you know about the Western Washington White Cheddar/) and...well...a lot of really smelly ones!!!
Hetty...this is a cute little "dutch cheese" story. I have a dutch friend - Gerhard - whom I met in Saudi Arabia. His last name is Tip, and the Saudi's refer to garbage dumps as "tips" so they thought his paperwork was wrong and put his name down as Herr Nederlander. We would go shopping together, and he had me using the correct pronounciation of the cheeses, instead of the English versions. We were at the cheese counter and I had ordered some "howda" said all gurgly on the "how" part just as he instructed. The cheeseman at the counter knew us so called back "Howdy to you as well Herr Nederlander, Ms. Shari. What can I get you today?" We started laughing, it grew and, naturally being contagious, those around us were laughing...no one spoke the same language, but we just kept laughing. When someone tried to find out what was funny, we would peal off in new fits of hilarity. Finally we caught our breath, and ordered our cheese. He was out, and we ended up with Havarti. That got us started again. It was a fun day at the market that I will never forget.
Thank you for your reply. The only photo I have right now is the one (slightly out of focus) of the white flower buds. In fact, I have never seen the flowers bloom and am wondering if most of the plants are male and only the female one has flowers?? Or the other way round?? I am keeping watch on it and the moment the flowers develop fully I will post up the picture for you. The plant, claimed by many to have incredible antioxidant and healing properties is known locally only as the "South African herbal leaf plant." Any identification information you may be able to find and share would be greatly appreciated. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Thanks Dr Hugo, it will be important to see the mature flowers.
From what I can see, the plant has paired flowers (is this true?). If so it may be in the Apocynaceae Family.
Does the plant have milky sap? Does it have star shaped funnel-like flowers? Can you describe the fruit?
The plant looks similar to a Tabernanthe. Maybe, Tabernanthe iboga, the African Iboga plant. It is very medicinal, and also potentially toxic. It is known to cure drug addicts, but has also killed people!
Please be careful to identify any plant which you plan to put in your body!
Thanks for your reply and warning although I am sure it is not toxic as many people have been taking this leaf as a medicinal herb for many years and nobody has ever died! They claim only that they have been healed! No, it also has no milky sap or any noticeable sap when we cut it for stem cuttings. It has no fruit. The flowers do not seem as if they are paired but single, but most of the plants we have and see growing around the island have no flowers, only leaves. Only one of my plant's flower buds are a little bigger today and look as if they might bloom over the next few days so I will make sure to take pictures and send them to you. So at this stage I can not really say or not whether the flowers are "star shaped funnel-like flowers." Thanks for your feedback and I look forward to hearing from you again if you find any new information. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Dr. Hugo... someone closer to you, in Kota Kinabalu is an interesting fellow AND botanist: Tony Lamb. I can't find his card, but he works closely with Borneo Books who would know how to contact him. Tony built the Gardens in Tenom and has recently written a book on Hoyas (and has written books on Vireyas and other genera). You might contact him... I will try to get more contact information for you...
Thank you for your reply. Yes, if you can find his email, maybe I can contact him to help find out the identity of this amazing plant. One of mine is about to flower for the first time so I will post the photo of it when it fully blooms in the next few days hopefully. I will also try and track down Borneo Books to find Tony Lamb.
Cheers! Dr Hugo
Hi Metrosideros & others,
Here is some info on the names and uses of the plant from the above link:
What my Feng Shui Master (who is also a a healer and good with using local plants for health) taught me was this plant called in Cantonese - “Por See Yip” or “Lam Fei Yip” - in English translation “Persian Leaves” or “South African Leaves”. Well, because it is so excellent in treating many ailments, I have given it a nickname myself - “Magic Plant.”
It really grows easily and its health benefits are :-
1) reducing cholesterol
2) reducing urea acid
3) reducing wind or flatulence
4) balancing blood pressure
5) countering insomnia as it promotes good sleep at night
6) reducing high blood sugar levels
7) reduce fat and helps us to lose weight
8 ) remove other toxins from our body
If you can track down the scientific identity from the names above, let me know please ans thank you all for your efforts. As you see there are many healing characteristics to this humble plant. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Thanks for the new photo Dr Hugo. From the flowers it looks like a composite, possibly a Eupatorium or Ageratum.
Keep us posted on the flowers as they mature. Any close-ups of the flowers will help.
The seeds will be very small.
Several Eupatoriums and Ageratums are known to have medicinal qualities.
OK Metrosideros, Yes, the flowers are coming into full bloom today and I will take another photo for you tomorrow. One more Chinese (Cantonese) name for the plant is: "Hark Meen Jeong Kuan." The Chinese Feng Shui masters are familiar with the plant and prescribe it for chewing as well as making tea from many leaves. But nobody seems to know its scientific identity?? It is considered as an amazing cancer fighter by those who know about it (including Chinese doctors) and there are many people who have totally recovered from various forms of cancer claiming that this is the antioxidant plant that did it! Will send more photos for you in the morning. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Thanks Dr Hugo; please keep in mind that plants are identified by their key physical characters, rather than by their medicinal qualities.
Close-ups of all parts of the plant will be helpful in determining a species. Flowers, fruit, leaves, stems, growth habit, are all important in separating one species from another.
As this plant has amazing therapeutic promise, it is important to identify it as an individual.
Metrosideros, All points taken, thank you. Please find attached a shot of the flowers coming out as a further physical characteristic of the plant. I will take more photos later as they fully bloom. Cheers!
Thanks Metrosideros, Posted the same photo twice, soory, so here are two more later photos attached. It can not be Eupatorium which are non tropical plants, or Ageratum that grows in America (temperate climate) and reaches a height of only 18"! Some of my current plants are over 6 metres tall! I am also planting them alongside the fence as an extra green barrier and thay are all growing very fast. Let's keep on trying to identify it. Let me know if you come up with anything new. Thanks for your support and interest. Perhaps we can find a sponsor to do scientific research and development and who knows, we could launch a real cure for cancer and other life threatening diseases?? Cheers! Dr Hugo
No odour when crushing the leaves (Bignonia). Once they reach a few metres tall the trunk is quite wooded and strong. The photos I have posted and the ones on the link above (happyhomemakers) show the physical characteristics and I don't know what else I can add. Of over one dozen that I have growing in my tropical garden, only one has the white flowers as shown above. When chopping a mature branch and planting it about one foot deep, it starts to grow within a few days. I have just planted another twenty alongside part of my fence for landscaping effect and added privacy, and of course an unlimited supply of medicinal leaves, not just for ourselves (limit of 2 leaves per day according to traditional Chinese doctors) but for visitors and friends as well.
Can anyone recommend any research service or company that could examine the plant and analyse its special phytochemicals for health benefits?? Cheers! Dr Hugo
I've finally found the local Malay name for the plant: "Sambung Nyawa" which translates as "Life Connection" which in turn probably realtes to its "longevity" benefits. If anyone can find any more info based on this name, then let us all know and I will keep searching too. It is definitely a tropical plant and does not seem to be known outside Malaysia and Singapore, and maybe a few other equatorial places in the region, maybe Indonesia. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Hi Dave, Yes, I think you may be right and we have had a "false alarm identity crisis!" Especially also in view of the fact that the scientific name "Gynura Procumbens" is in contradiction to the physical attributes of the plant. From Latin: procumbens, procumbent - present participle of procumbere, to bend down : pro-, forward, -cumbere, to lie down. That is, the plant is definitely "low lying" and therefore can not reach heights of 5 or 6 metres as we have growing. One gardener in Indonesia would also agree as his "Sambung Nyawa" (the local Malay/Indonesian name often used synomously with GP) in the photos he has sent me never grow higher than 50cm! So we are still searching! Keep in touch and let me know if you discover any more clues to put us back on the right track. Cheers! Dr Hugo
One thing that may help is to make an herbarium sheet, to send to any local plant experts.
This is done by pressing a sample of the plant on a sheet of cardboard, including flowers and seeds. Include a description of the plant with the pressed and dried sample; the physical characteristics of the plant are key in identification, rather than it's medicinal qualities.
So far the plant looks like a shrub in the Composite Family, Asteraceae.
Thanks for the advice but we do not have any institution in Malaysia that I know of yet that can analyse the plant. I could prepare a herbarium sheet like you say Dave and send it to you?? Aloha, I have already posted many messages on the UBC Botanical website but everyone there also seems stumped. We found many new plants recently growing wild on the edge of the jungle and would love to harvest and dry the leaves to make herbal healing tea to help others with various ailments. What an irony ~ here we are in the Age of Information and I can't find the information we need! Any help from anyone would be eternally appreciated as I continue my search for the real identity of this wonderful plant. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Thanks Dr. Hugo, I would be glad to have an herbarium sheet of the plant; seeds would be better, I would like to grow the plant.
Maybe sending an herbarium sheet to the Tropicos section of Missouri Botanical Garden would help. I will track down how to go about that if you wish.
A deadly plant, oh how I miss my toxic garden in Montreal: nothing but highly toxic, perrenial and preferably large-sized plants where the lawn contractor is not allowed to enter alone. I have to admit those dangerous plantsare still the ones that hold the highest fascination for me.
Hi Dave, Yes I can prepare a herbarium sheet if you give me the guidelines. I can laminate the leaves for a start, and the small white flowers also. But where am I to find the seeds as I can never see any? I could snip young buds off before they bloom too. I don't suppose I could airmail or courier a few stem cuttings to you could I?? There are probably quarantine regulations against it. Stem cuttings are very hardy and often I have left them for days or even weeks in a bucket of water and when planted they just shoot up. I would really like to know the true identity of the plant so I could write a full description of it including all its uses for healing. Why do you think we are having so much trouble identifying the plant? We are now drying the leaves in the tropical sun and making tea from them as well as "chewing the cud." Please give me specific directions about how to prepare samples and send to where for professional identification and analysis. I look forward to your reply. Cheers! Dr Hugo
Jim Duke has written several books on herbs, He has traveled extensively. Perhaps you can find a way to contact him. I'll look for my books tomorrow and see if they give a web address. Otherwise, you could google Dr. James Duke.
This has been excellent reading I am going to try to grow some cacao here for fun. I just wonder how big a 4 year old tree will be have to keep it in pots and green house for the winter months but it interesting to do the vanilla looks interesting too! Thanks so much for posting this...Dana Tumeric I like to grow my own too