|The Golden Chalice vine - Solandra grandiflora Forest Starr and Kim Starr|
The Golden Chalice vine - Solandra grandiflora is one of the most impressive of all perennial climbing plants. Native to Caribbean, Mexico and South America, it is sought after by gardeners as an ornamental garden, and by local tribes for its narcotic properties.
|The Golden Chalice vine - Solandra grandiflora|
The glossy leaves are oval shaped can grow as large as 6 inches. Unusually they sprout directly from the main stalk and side branches.
The flowers bloom in the evening or night and produce a strong, sweet fragrance similar to coconut, suggesting that they are pollinated by bats and moths. In their natural habitat the pollinated flowers are followed by large light-yellow berries which contain large amounts of tiny seeds. These berries change from light-yellow in colour to deep red as they ripen.
The aboriginal Indian tribes from central Mexico and northern Central America know the Golden Chalice vine as Kieli or Kieri which means 'Plant of the God’s'. It is regarded as a powerful, magical drug and aphrodisiac, however traditional wisdom believes that it is surrounded by evil forces.
The shamans use this plant to induce ecstatic trance states, but this is only done on rare occasions because they fear that when under its influence evil forces can steal their life force. The aboriginal Indians believe that only malicious, sinister shamans use it, and as such much of its traditional use has been kept secret
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