Synonyms

Pentandria monogynia 1., Gamopetalae

nuculiferae Endl.]

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

Convolvulaceae:

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

Lozano 1988,26).

Another species, Metteniusa tessmanniana

(Sleumer) Sleumer [syn. AveZedoa tessmanniana

Sleumer], is found in Peru (Brako and Zarucchi

1993,573*).
Literature

Karsten, Hermann. 1858-61. Florae Columbiae, I.

Berlin.

Lozano-C., Gustavo, and Nulia B. de Lozano. 1988.

Metteniusaceae. Vol. 11 of Flora de Colombia.

Bogota: Universidad de Colombia.

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