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Erythroxylum coca.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial name

Erythroxylum coca

Coca plant.jpg
Erythroxylon coca

Coca is a species of plants that is best known for containing the cocaine alkaloids, a group of compounds found in the leaves, which are used for making the drug, cocaine. Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant. Coca grows in tropical and humid climate areas, such as South America and resembles a blackthorn bush, with reddish branches and bright vibrant green leaves. Along with the leaves, the plant consists of flowers and bright red berries.



Anatomy of a coca plant

The coca shrub is a wild plant that often grows to the height of twelve to eighteen feet. The stems diameter is about sixteen centimeters and its roots can go as far down as twelve feet into the soil. It has straight, reddish branches and whitish bark. They are a vibrant green with a smooth and slightly glossy surface. Varying in length and width, the leaves are oval shaped and more or less tapering at the extremities. The flowers are usually succeeded by bright red berries. [1]The flowers are small and are spread out in little clusters on short stalks. The corolla consists of five yellowish-white petals, the pistil has three carpels brought together to form a three chambered ovary, and the anthers are shaped to resemble a heart. [2]


The coca plant reproduces through seeds. The seeds are usually used from plants that are aged about three years. Once the seeds have fallen off the plant farmers collect them and separates the good seeds from the bad seeds. He does this by pouring the seeds into water and the ones that float to the top are discarded because they can't reproduce. Once all the good seeds are dried off, they plant them and shade them from the light. In the wild, however, this is not the case. When the seeds fall, the water from rain or rivers usually wash the seeds into the soil, where they begin regrowing into a new coca plant.


Coca Map

It is usually cultivated in the Andes, in the highlands, and also in the lower lands depending on the species. The species differ according to location, altitude, and climate. In the late 19th and 20th century, it was also tentatively transplanted to several different places for different experiments. [3]It grows best in any tropical humid climate areas, usually places like forest clearings and the wet sides of mountains. The wild species are often found in altitudes of three hundred to two thousand meters. Not only is it grown wildly but you can also grow it in your own home. [4]


This particular plant contains cocaine alkaloids in its leaves, which is the basis for the drug cocaine, a very powerful and addictive stimulant.[5] This particular drug is a powerfully reinforcing psycho-stimulant. It is either inhaled, smoked, or injected, and induces a brief sense of exhilaration in the person that’s using it.[6] It is powerfully addictive so it is very easily abused. People tend to use it because of the increased feeling of energy it gives them. The high of snorting can last up to 30 minutes, compared to smoking and injecting which only lasts from 5 to ten minutes. Because of the quickly fading effects, to sustain the same feelings, the user has to administer the drug repetitively in short periods of time and usually in large quantities. This is usually what leads to addiction.[7]


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