Pentandria monogynia 1., Gamopetalae
The three species of the genus Metteniusa in
Colombia thrive primarily in cloud forests. These
trees bear large fruits (Gentry 1993, 474f.*). The
genus constitutes its own family but is also
assigned to the families Alangiaceae and
Icacinaceae (Brako and Zarucchi 1993, 573*).
Karsten has even seen a certain resemblance to the
The fruit and seed formation of this treewhose
bitter-tasting seeds are a not
unimportant source of nourishment for the
tribe of Arguaco Indians who inhabit the
peaks of the mountains of St. Marta-isolate
it from its natural relatives, the Cordiceae and
the Asperifoliae. (Karsten 1858, 1:80)
In the Sierra Madre de Santa Marta, the tree is
known as canyi. It is said to have ritual significance
for the Kogi of Colombia.333 The priests (mamas)
attribute strong psychoactive effects to the tree's
chestnutlike fruits (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1977,
285*). Whether this plant truly is psychoactive is
questionable, for it is eaten as a food in Venezuela,
albeit after having been cooked (Lozano-C. and
Another species, Metteniusa tessmanniana
(Sleumer) Sleumer [syn. AveZedoa tessmanniana
Sleumer], is found in Peru (Brako and Zarucchi1993,573*).
Karsten, Hermann. 1858-61. Florae Columbiae, I.
Lozano-C., Gustavo, and Nulia B. de Lozano. 1988.
Metteniusaceae. Vol. 11 of Flora de Colombia.Bogota: Universidad de Colombia.