Erythroxylum coca is native to the Peruvian mountains of South America, along the 70 degrees South and 10 degrees North latitudes. Through cultivation, the coca plant now grows throughout the tropical regions of the Andes, mainly Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. It has also spread to regions in Chile, Colombia, East and West Indies, Cylon, India and some parts of Africa, Mexico and Indonesia. For optimal growth, the coca shrubs require a very moist, equitorial climate, so the planst prefer to grow in specific tropical humid climates, such as those found on the wet side of mountains and clearings in forests at the elevation ranging from 1,500 to 7,100 feet. Citrus sinensis and Psidium guajava is another plant that thrives in tropical and subtropical regions.

Coca plants in Peru. Used with permission from wildimages.tv.



While the plant is cultivate din many different climatic conditions, it requires very delicate and optimum combinations of soil, temperate, altitude and humidity.

The soil must be rich in humus (brown or black material resulting from decomposition of organic matter which forms the organic portion of the soil), soil constituents (such as decomposed matter, living organisms, water and air), minerals (such as magnesium and iron) and a high percentage of nitrates.

One coca twig. Used with permission from wildimages.tv.

The ideal temperature for coca plant growth is between 18 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius (or 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature gets too low, then the plant won't grow, and if the temperature
gets too high, the leaves will become very dry and loose their strength.


The optimal altitude for growth of the plant is between 500
and 2,000 meters (1,500 and 6,000 feet). At this altitude and a one season climate, Erythroxylum coca thrives and has the greatest production of cocaine. If the plant is in a season changing environment, a nitrogen poor soil, or either below sea level or at higher altitude, the production of cocaine in the plant is lessened.


The proper humidity for Erythroxylum is between 80% and 90%. Humidity is one of the most important and critical conditions for the plant, which prefers to grow in very high humidity environments.




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