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Jonathan Ott_Salvia Divinorum

Jonathan Ott_Salvia Divinorum

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Jonathan Ott
Eleusis, n. 4, April # 31-39, 1996 Psychoactive Card IVORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Bot. Mus. Leafl. Harv. Univ.,1962: 20(3): 75-76. AMENDED: Emboden, Narcotic Plants (2°Edition revised and enlarged), 1979:93-94, AMENDED:Reisfield, SIDA, Contributions to Botany, 1993: 15(3):349-366.
FAMILY:
Labiatae.
VERNACULAR NAMES:
Mazatec: SkaPastora, Ska María Pastora: Náhuatl: Pipiltzintzintli, Spanish:Hojas de la Pastora, Hojas de María Pastora, La Hembra,English: Leaves of the Shepherdess, Leaves of MaryShepherdess, Sage of the Seers, Diviners’ Sage.
DISTRIBUTION:
Endemic to the Mazatec zone of the SierraMadre Oriental of the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
ECOLOGY:
On black soil in ravines close to primary or secondary cloudforest and tropical evergreen forest, 300-1800 m elevation;flowering sporadically from September to May.
BOTANICALDESCRIPTION:
Perennial herb, 0.5-1.5 m tall, floweringstems 1-2(-3) m tall. Stems hollow, quadrangular, flangedangles, hirtellous, green, translucent and crisp. Leaves opposite,elliptic to ovate, apex acuminate to caudate, base attenuate, 10-25(-30) cm long, 5-10 cm wide, glabrous above, belowglandular-punctate, irregularly serrate or crenate-serratemargins. Racemes erect, simple, 30-40 cm long, internodes 2-4cm; cymules having 3-6(-12) flowers; rachis hirsute, glabrate.Bracts ovate, concave, sessile, basally rounded, apex acuminate-caudate, 1-2(-3) cm long, 0.6-1 cm wide, tardily deciduous,mainly violet. Pedicels hirsute, slender, straight, violet, 4-9 mmlong. Calyx with subequal lips, 10-12 mm long, glabrate toglandular-puberulent, violet; upper lip 1.5 mm long with 3major veins. Corolla 28-32 mm long, sigmoid, densely villouswith translucent multicellular hairs 0.5-2 mm long, white,
 
glabrous within, lips becoming tinged with blue in age; tube 19-22 mm long, 2 mm high, 1.5 mm wide at narrowest near throat;galea 8-9(-10) mm long; lower lip cupped, 5 mm long and 7 mmwide when flattened, middle lobe emarginate. Stamens glabrous,white, slightly arcuate, 15-16 mm long, rudders 10-11 mm long,entire, anthers 2 mm long; pollen white. Style 27-32 mm long,densely bearded below stigma, white. Gynobase horn 3 mmlong, 1.2 mm wide, white, glabrous. Nutlets 1.8-2 mm long,1(1.2) mm wide at maturity, dark brown, unknown in wildcollections [From amendment by Reisfield 1993].
BOTANICAL OBSERVATIONS:
The scientific name of thegenus comes from Latin salvus = safe; the specific name "whichmeans "of the seers", refers to the curious use to which the plantis put by the Mazatec Indians", to wit, as a shamanic inebriant orentheogen in divination, especially of the causes of illness(Epling & Játiva-M. 1962; Wasson 1962). Unfortunately, theoriginal type description (collected by A. Hofmann & R.G.Wasson 8 September 1962 in San José Tenango, Oaxaca,México; Herb.Univ.Cal., Los Angeles; duplicate inEcon.Herb.Oakes Ames) was in error regarding corolla color("cyanearum" or cyan-blue), which was amended to "purewhite" by Emboden in a popular book (Emboden 1979); thenmore fully amended by Reisfield, who described reproductiveparts in detail, including the nutlets, noting that the corolla "lipsbecome tinged blue with age" (Reisfield 1993). Thisamendement as to corolla color was unfortunately not beforethree separate color paintings of the plant had been published,mistakenly showing it with cyan-blue corollas. The first was byFrances Runyan as Plate 50 in the first edition of Emboden’sNarcotic Plants (Emboden 1972) (in the second editionEmboden amended the description and replaced the erroneouspainting with a close-up color photograph of the decidedly whiteflowers as Plate 40) (Emboden 1979). There were also twoseparate color paintings by Harvard Botanical Museum artistElmer W. Smith depicting the flowers as cyan-blue. The first
 
was in Richard Evans Schultes’ 1976 Hallucinogenic Plants,which even depicted an enlarged, all-blue flower (Schultes1976); the error being repeated in the French (Schultes 1978)and (pirated) Spanish translations (Schultes 1982). Finally, intheir 1980 poster Plant Hallucinogens, illustration No. 23likewise depicted S.divinorum with blue corollas (Schultes &Smith 1980). Suprisingly, for such a rare plant, two additionalcolor paintings have been published, correctly depicting theflowers as white: by F. Lucerne Coray on page 55 of Schultes’and Halbert Hofmann’s coffee-table book Plants of the Gods(Schultes & Hofmann 1979) and by D.D. Dowden in S. Foster’sHerbal Bounty (Foster 1984)! Besides this plethora of colorpaintings of an obscure plant, there have also been publishedtwo different botanical illustrations, by John Stanwell-Fletcher(Schultes 1967; Stafford 1977) and Irene Brady (Mayer 1977;Schultes 1972; Schultes & Hofmann 1973), plus many black-and-white photographs of the plant (Díaz 1975; Valdés et al.1983, 1987a; Wasson 1963, 1966), and a sketch (Heffern 1974),and the above-cited color photograph.
AGRONOMIC DATA:
There exists agronomic controversyover the status of S.divinorum as a cultigen. The type specimenwas a cultivar, and the botanical discoverer of the plant said it"seems to be a cultigen", noting: "We were on the watch forS.divinorum as we criss-crossed the Sierra Mazateca onhorseback in September and October of 1962, but never oncedid we see it. The Indians choose some remote ravine for theplanting of it .. whether it occurs in a wild state (except forplants that have been abandoned or have escaped) we do notknow" (Wasson 1962). Valdés, who made ethnographic andphytochemical study of this plant his thesis project, haschallenged this, stating that his informant Don Alejandro"indicated that the plant grows wild in the fairly inaccessiblehighlands of the Sierra Mazateca" admitting, however, that allplants he saw were "apparently originally started by humans"(Valdés 1994). Valdés failed to cite Reisfield’s thorough

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