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Quamoclidion multiflorum Torr.; cf. Schultes
and Farnsworth 1982, 189*]
The so-called Hopi hallucinogen belongs to the
four-o' clocks, those amazing flowers whose blossoms
always close at the same time each late
afternoon. Known as so:'ksi or so'kya, the plant
produces red flowers and a long, deeply penetrating
root. Hopi medicine men chewed the root
or drank the juice pressed from it in order to
obtain diagnostic visions (Whiting 1939, 75).
Twenty-eight to 57 g of the root is said to result in
a "half-hour of gaiety:' The Zuni Indians bake a
bread using flour made from the root and,
interestingly, use the bread as an appetite suppressant
(Moerman 1986, 293*). The active
principles are unknown (Ott 1993, 413*). The
botanical name Mirabilis nyctaginea is also
sometimes applied to this questionable hallucinogen
(Moerman 1982,81 f.*).
On the basis of this information from the older
ethnographic literature and the superficial
similarities between this genus and the
nightshades, many closet shamans believe that
another four-o'clock, Mirabilis jalapa 1., is also
psychoactive. The seeds of this plant, which is now
cultivated throughout the world as an ornamental,
are used ethnomedicinally as an antibacterial and
anti-inflammatory agent (Kusamba et al. 1991). It
is unknown whether the tuberous root has psychoactive effects. The Pima Indians of
northern Mexico use the leaves to brew a tonic forthe elderly (Pennington 1973,221*).
Kusamba, Chifundera, Kizungu Byamana, and Wa
Mpoyi Mbuyi. 1991. Antibacterial activity of
Mirabilis jalapa seed powder. Journal of
Whiting, Alfred F. 1939. Ethnobotany ofthe Hopi.
Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin no. 15.
Flagstaff.: Northern Arizona Society of Scienceand Art.